WASHINGTON (Jan. 23)
The kidnapping at gunpoint a week ago of Ernesto Liebes, Honorary Consul General for Israel in El Salvador, now appears to be politically motivated according to knowledgeable Salvadorean and American sources. Radio Station YSU in San Salvador broadcast yesterday that if had received a manifesto from the Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN) which claimed credit for the kidnapping and demanded the release of political prisoners held by the government of El Salvador. FARN is described as a leftwing, extremist and terrorist organization.
Liebes, a Salvadorean, who is reported to be 75 years old, was abducted Jen. 17 on the Panamerican Highway five kilometers outside San Salvador following an accident between his car and one used by four armed men. According to sources here, when the drive of Liebes car left if to tall with the men from the other car who had emerged from their vehicle, Liebes was seized and whisked away.
Radio Station YSU was described by the Salvadorean Embassy sources here as privately owned and one of the most popular in El Salvador. This would mean, it was noted, that its report on the manifesto was widely heard. Meanwhile, Salvadorean newspapers have reported that Liebes family is concerned about his health He recently underwent heart surgery.
An assumption that the kidnapping had been based on ransom, a frequent reason for productions in El Salvador, is not considered inaccurate. While most of those kidnapped are natives, six foreign businessmen in that Central American country were kidnapped last November and December, and three, two Britons and a Japanese, are still missing.
A Japanese industrial executive was the first seized. He was killed. Later, a Swede and a Dutchman were kidnapped and released after reportedly paying ransoms. The missing Japanese was seized Dec. 7 and the two British men were kidnapped Nov. 30 All these abductions took place in downtown Salvador. A wealthy Salvadorean was kidnapped Dec. 20. and released some days later after reportedly paying ransom. No American citizens have been kidnapped.