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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 23:09 GMT
Colombia rebel arrest row worsens
Colombian security forces escort Farc rebel Rodrigo Granda
Colombia denies its agents were involved in abducting Granda
Venezuela has recalled its ambassador to Colombia, in an escalating dispute over the capture of a Colombian rebel.

Venezuela said the capture of Rodrigo Granda in Caracas was a violation of sovereignty, and accused Bogota of bribing Venezuelan agents to catch him.

On Wednesday a Colombian minister admitted his government paid bounty hunters to help seize Mr Granda.

Colombia has denied that any of its agents entered Venezuelan territory during the operation.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government's investigations show Mr Granda was illegally kidnapped and then taken across the border.

'No violation'

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said on Thursday that the ambassador to Bogota had been recalled for consultations.

Colombia's action, he added, constituted "a crime that could have international implications".

He said five Venezuelan National Guard officers and three police officers had been arrested on suspicion of aiding Mr Granda's abduction from Caracas in return for a reward from Colombia.

Colombian Defence Minister Jorge Alberto Uribe on Wednesday said his government had paid for information which resulted in the Farc rebel being captured in Colombia.

Unidentified informants told Colombian police in December that Mr Granda was in Venezuela, and offered to hand him over or give information resulting in his capture, he said.

He insisted that the operation had been carried out without violating Venezuela's sovereignty.

Mr Granda is described as the unofficial foreign minister for the Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the country's main leftist rebel group.


SEE ALSO:
Colombia admits bounty on rebel
12 Jan 05 |  Americas
Colombia rejects 'kidnap' charge
10 Jan 05 |  Americas
Probe into Colombia rebel arrest
05 Jan 05 |  Americas
Colombia captures rebel 'envoy'
16 Dec 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Colombia
14 Feb 04 |  Country profiles
Q&A: Colombia's civil conflict
06 May 03 |  Americas


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