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Word from captive of Salvadorans

A letter from Archibald Gardner dunn, former South African ambassador to El Salvador who was kidnapped by leftist terrorists last Nov. 28, has raised hopes here that negotiations to secure his release may yet be possible. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell, who saw the letter Feb. 6 just moments after it was received, writes that the ambassador indicates he is getting along "as well as the circumstances allow."

The letter, a short message to his family, was dated Jan. 28 and is authentic , although the handwriting is far from his normal script. Mr. Dunn had not been heard from since Dec. 31. South Africa's government has said all along that it will not negotiate with the captors for his release. But it is understood here that members of the Dunn family have been in contact with the kidnappers.

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The group, known as the Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion-Faribundo Marti, seized him as part of its campaign to nettle the Salvadoran government -- and to protest the "apartheid racial policies of South Africa."

It has in the past specified political goals to secure the ambassador's freedom, including the release of political prisoners. But early in January it changed this to demand a $20 million ransom for his release. It is thought that the negotiations for his release have gone no further.


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