Colombia: guerillas free captives

After tense negotiations, the Red Cross transported to safety Feb. 15 two Colombian National Police agents being held by the FARC guerillas since Jan. 25. The release had been delayed due to large groups of journalists in the vicinity of the drop-off point according to leader of Colombians for Peace (CCP), Piedad Cordoba, who helped broker the negotiations. The armed forces had ceased military activity around Miranda in the southwest Cauca department to provide safe passage for the Red Cross. The humanitarian mission will next fly to Pasto to secure the release of a soldier captured by the FARC on Jan. 31 during clashes in southern Nariño department. (Colombia Reports, Feb. 14)

Also Feb. 15, the international committee of the Red Cross confirmed the release of five of the six miners taken hostage by the ELN, Colombia’s second largest rebel group. The whereabouts of the remaining Canadian hostage are unknown. One Canadian, two Peruvians, and three Colombians, all reportedly working for the Canadian oil company Geo Explorer, were captured on Jan. 18 in Bolívar department. Colombian President Juan Manual Santos wrote on his Twitter account: “The two Peruvian citizens and three Colombians are already free. It is unacceptable that the Canadian citizen is not free.” (Colombia Reports, Feb. 15)