Drug interdiction flights in Colombia, which were halted in 2001 when a plan carrying American missionaries was downed erroneously in Peru, are on the verge of resuming. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the plan at a news conference with his Colombian counterpart in Bogata.
A Peruvian fighter jet guided by a CIA surveillance plane shot down the missionary plane, killing Veronica Bowers and her daughter, Charity. Investigators said procedural and language problems, as well as inadequate Peruvian air control caused the error.
The Associated Press quoted Rumsfeld as saying that the U.S. may boost its assistance to Colombia’s counter-drug and counterinsurgency efforts. Congress will not allow more than 400 U.S. military personnel in Colombia at any time.