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Former Guerrilla Kidnaps Costa Rican Security Minister

September 24, 1992

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ A former Honduran rebel abducted Costa Rica’s security chief and two other men late Wednesday and took them to Honduras aboard a hijacked plane, authorities said.

The two other hostages - a Honduran archbishop and a police official - were released unharmed at Tegucigalpa’s airport after nearly three hours of negotiations.

The captor, who was recently freed from a Costa Rican prison, demanded amnesty from prosecution in that country ″for sexually abusing″ minors - but did not immediately elaborate, said government spokesman Olman Serrano.

Troops surrounded the small plane, where Costa Rica’s minister of public security, Luis Fishman, and two pilots were held captive.

The gunman was identified as Orlando Ordonez Betancourt, 33, a former member of the Cinchonero guerrilla movement of Honduras who had been imprisoned in Costa Rica for rape, officials said.

Ordonez also demanded he not be prosecuted for the kidnaps and that a brother being held in a Honduran prison be freed, Serrano said. The spokesman did not say where the brother was being held or on what charge.

Archbishop Luis Alfonso Santos and Lt. Col. Manuel de Jesus Luna were ″safe and sound″ after being released, Serrano said.

Fishman was seized while meeting with the others at a high school in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose. They were forced at gunpoint to drive to the airport,where they boarded a plane, authorities said.

The reason for Fishman’s meeting was not immediately known.

Fishman, 47, is the senior security officer in Costa Rica, which has no army. He had led a government offensive against drug trafficking that has netted more than a ton of cocaine this year.

Calderon refused to say whether the kidnapping might have had to do with drug smuggling.

Incidents of violent crime are unusual in Costa Rica, where ministers often go about without bodyguards. An Associated Press reporter in San Jose saw Fishman jogging alone Tuesday.

The Cinchonero movement is named in honor of a 19th century movement of Honduran leather workers.