Lithuanian citizen kidnapped

  • 2000-09-21
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - Lithuanian Vladi-mir Molodcov and Russian Vladimir Larin were kidnapped by Colombian rebels on Sept. 13.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry refused to comment on its efforts for liberating the kidnapped Lithu-anian citizen.

Both men were kidnapped in the northwest of Colombia, where they worked in the construction of a hydro-electric power station. They worked at SHEM-de Columbia, the branch of the Lithuanian firm Baltic SHEM.

The two men were kidnapped by the Colombian National Liberation Army, said Gediminas Siaudvytis, deputy director of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's Consular Department.

He said that kidnappings were common among the group.

Raimundas Miezelis, adviser of President Valdas Adamkus, was a businessman in Colombia for many years. He stated that ransom demands are usually expected in such cases.

Samuil Oserovski, general director of the Baltic SHEM, urged journalists not to exploit this theme because it might delay the freeing of the men.

The Lithuanian media was speculating about possible contacts of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The Colombian National Liberation Army is reportedly a radical left pro-Cuban group.

"I'll inform you immediately when we'll have some news. At the moment I can say that Lithuania has no contacts with Cuba in this case," Petras Zapolskas, director of the Information and Culture Department of the Foreign Ministry, told The Baltic Times on Sept. 19.

He also refused to comment about possible contacts between the ministry and Antanas Mockus, mayor of the Colombian capital Bogota. Mockus is ethnic Lithuanian and speaks fluent Lithuanian.

Earlier, Lithuanian Foreign Ministry officials stated that they cooperate with the Russian Foreign Ministry in this case.

Lithuania handed notes to the Colombian Embassy in Warsaw and the Colombian Foreign Ministry asking to make all possible efforts to find the kidnapped Lithuanian citizen.

Lithuania has no embassy in Colombia, but the embassy in Venezuela is observing closely this event, stated officials of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.