From: Reuters
Published March 12, 2008 07:28 AM

Chiquita sued by relatives of 5 slain missionaries - WSJ

(Reuters) - A lawsuit was filed against Chiquita Brands International Inc <CQB.N> by relatives of five U.S. missionaries killed in the 1990s by Colombian rebels, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Wednesday. The lawsuit is the latest legal issue faced by the banana company that admitted paying off violent guerrilla groups in Colombia, where Chiquita's most profitable units operated.

The lawsuit claims the five missionaries were abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC, and were killed after the missionary group did not pay the ransom sought by FARC, the newspaper reported.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that Chiquita's payments to the FARC were a contributing factor in the deaths of the missionaries because they financed the group's operations during that period, the Journal said.

Chiquita was not immediately available for comment.

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(Reporting by Amitha Rajan in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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