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Hostage-Taking Cons Stick To Their Demands

Mon., April 7, 1997

Inmates holding 13 hostages stuck to their demand Sunday for safe passage out of the prison in exchange for their captives’ release. The Red Cross supplied food and medicine amid negotiations to end the 4-day-old standoff.

“It is calm inside. Physically, all of the hostages are all right, but some are very fragile psychologically,” said Thierry Grobet, Red Cross director in Valledupar.

Suspected leftist rebel Omar Manrique Lozano and about 10 other inmates led the prison takeover on Thursday, overpowering guards, seizing an arsenal and killing three guards and a police officer.

Lozano, 32, has demanded bulletproof vests, a cellular telephone and buses for a ride to freedom - as well as foreign asylum, preferably in Cuba.

Arrested in 1995, he is awaiting trial on charges of murder and treason.

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