|Colombia||GOVERNMENT HALTS PEACE TALKS AFTER REBELS ABDUCT CHURCHGOERS|
The Colombian government on Monday broke off further peace contacts with a rebel group that abducted more than 120 people from a Catholic church on Sunday.
About 30 members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) stormed a church in a wealthy sector of the city of Cali and abducted more than 120 people, including the pastor. 84 of the people were later released as government soldiers chased the rebels into the surrounding mountains.
Army chief Gen. Jorge Enrique Mora said at least 40 men and 20 women remained in rebel hands on Monday, in addition to 25 people abducted from an Avianca Airlines flight in April still being held. While rebel groups in Colombia often kidnap wealthy individuals and hold them for ransom to support their operations, authorities speculated that the latest attack was an attempt to persuade President Andres Pastrana to take ELN more seriously.
Zenit 3:28pm 2/6/99