Conflict & Justice

Final FARC police, military prisoners released in Colombia


At Villavicencio airport south of Bogota, Colombian former senator Piedad Cordobaright, at right, gives a hi-five today to a Brazilian helicopter pilot before taking off for a mission to pick up the first of a group of 10 hostages to be released by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.



Leftist guerrillas in Colombia today freed what they said were their final 10 police and military hostages, releasing people who had all been held at least 12 years in jungle prisons, according to The Associated Press.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had announced that it would free the prisoners in February and also proclaimed an end to funding itself by kidnapping and ransom, according to the AP.

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The releases were part of FARC efforts to negotiate a peace to Latin America's longest war, in which the FARC were the oldest rebel group, according to the AP.

The news agency said police officer Jorge Trujillo, 41, had been held since 1999 and that his mother was ecstatic.

"I shouted! I jumped up and down!"  Olivia Solarte, who was waiting at the the airport in Villavicencio in Colombia's eastern lowlands with with other family members, was quoted as saying.

The releases were part of a humanitarian mission lead by the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to Reuters.

"Today the agony of these families ends, and that gives us great satisfaction,"  Jordi Raich, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation, was quoted as saying.

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However, Reuters said the FARC still held more than 700 civilian hostages and many Colombians were not convinced FARC would lay down their arms.