A group of students who had been occupying a church in the town of Yumbo, Colombia, escaped during the night on Wednesday (11 June) after releasing fifty hostages.
GV Roman Catholic church in Yumbo, Colombia where twelve masked students have been holding hostages: students demonstrating outside (2 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT GV One of the students inside the tower of the church holds up hand in peace salute while students outside do the same
GV Masked students waving flags from the towers of the church (2 shots)
GV Masked students walk along the church rooftop with flag while demonstrators on the ground cheer and church bells ring
GV Cement factory which the students are complaining about. Shots of chimneys and cooling towers (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A group of students who had been occupying a church in the town of Yumbo, Colombia, escaped during the night on Wednesday (11 June) after releasing fifty hostages. They'd been protesting against the quality of public services in Yumbo.
SYNOPSIS: The church 360 kilometres from the capital, Bogota, was occupied by the students on June the eighth. About fifty people were inside the church at the time. The occupation followed a similar incident at a university in Bogota itself and a siege in a town north of the capital.
In Yumbo, the masked students identified themselves as being members of the guerrilla group M-19. When they occupied the church it was surrounded by police, but no move was made to remove them. The siege ended peacefully with the release of the hostages -- unlike last week's university occupation in Bogota.
On that occasion, riot police burst into the Public Pedagogical University, removed the eight hundred students who had seized the building and arrested three hundred of them. In the same week, five Colombian soldiers were killed in a clash with left-wing guerrillas.
The students in Yumbo were protesting over a number of local issues--including air pollution they said was caused by a cement factory. They escaped, without being noticed by police, by opening the church doors unexpectedly and mingling with the crowd that swarmed around the building.