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U.S. urges captive's release in Colombia

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 8:36 p.m.

BOGOTA, Colombia — A former U.S. Marine, whom Colombia's main insurgency says it “captured” a month ago in a turbulent southeastern region, is not a member of the U.S. mission and should be released immediately, Washington's ambassador said Saturday.

The rebels had offered to free Kevin Scott Sutay as a good-faith gesture in announcing on their website that he was in their custody.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said Sutay had described himself as a 2010-2011 veteran of the Afghan conflict who had left the armed forces in March.

The group did not disclose how it came into possession of Sutay but suggested he was “a mercenary.”

U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley denied that, saying Sutay was not an active member of the military.

“We understand that (he) was on a trip as a private citizen through Latin America,” the ambassador told reporters when questioned about Sutay after attending a Mass marking Colombia's independence day. “He is a citizen who has nothing to do with Colombia's internal conflict.”

The Pentagon on Saturday referred queries about Sutay's military background to the U.S. State Department and the embassy in Bogota.

An embassy spokeswoman, Erika Avila, said she had no additional information to offer on Sutay. It was not clear what he was doing in the Guaviare region, which is not a tourist region.

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