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Colombia Rebel Flees for Love

April 12, 1999

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Risking her life for love, a 16-year-old Colombian guerrilla said Sunday she arranged the escape of a captive soldier with whom she’d fallen in love.

Pvt. Roque Antonio Montilva, captured Aug. 3 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said he met the rebel, identified only as Diana, in February.

``She would write me notes,″ Montilva said. ``She told me she loved me and she said she was prepared to flee with me. I responded `yes’ but in one letter I warned her that if they caught us they’d tie me up and put me in a hole, but her they’d kill.″

Diana, Montilva and another captured soldier, Pvt. Jose Francisco Arteaga, slogged through thick jungles for six days before arriving Friday at a military base in Mutata, 270 miles from Bogota.

``I feel blessed to be here,″ said Diana, who kissed Montilva on the lips in front of reporters.

The guerilla group, known as FARC, holds more than 300 police and soldiers captive, some for more than 18 months, and wants to exchange them for 452 imprisoned rebels. The government has so far refused.

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