Incident Summary:

03/23/1998: The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) kidnapped 27 birdwatchers in Bogota, Colombia. Four of the kidnap victims were American tourists, one was an Italian tourist, and the rest (22) were Colombians.




South America

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Colombian Birdwatchers
Nationality of Target Colombia
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity American Tourists
Specific Description Louise Augustine, Peter Shen, Tom Fiore and Todd Marks
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity Italian Tourist
Specific Description Vito Candela
Nationality of Target Italy
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 27
US Hostages 4
Days of Kidnapping 34
Outcome Combination
Ransom Yes
Total Ransom Amount Demanded Unknown
Ransom Amount Demanded from US Sources Unknown
Total Ransom Amount Paid 0.00
Total Ransom Amount Paid by US Sources 0.00
Ransom Notes Unknown
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information All the hostages were eventually released. Nine of the Colombians were released on March 27, 1998 because they were not linked to paramilitary death squads, the rebels' enemies, and were not wealthy enough to make a ransom demand worthwhile. One American hostage escaped on April 2, 1998. The four Americans were kidnapped because FARC was suspicious that they were gathering intelligence for the United States. It was eventually proven that this was untrue.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Other)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
David Adams, “Colombia leftist rebels kidnap four Americans, bomb oil rig,” St. Petersburg Times, March 27, 1998.
“Birdwatchers spend fifth day in captivity,” Dayton Daily News, March 29, 1998.
“Colombian rebels release last of two US hostages,” CNN, April 25, 1998.