Thursday, February 10, 2011

FARC 'to release more hostages'

The Colombian FARC rebel group has promised to free more hostages in the coming days following the release of former councilor Marcos Baquero.

The former councilor is the first of five abducted politicians the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have so far released.

According to a statement released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Baquero was handed over to former Senator Pierdad Cordobahas, ICRC delegates and a member of Colombians for Peace in a rural area of the Meta province on Thursday. 

The former councilor was transported by a Brazilian helicopter to an airport in Villavicencio, the capital of the Mata province, where he was awaited by his family.

The team of Red Cross delegates, accompanied by a government representative, has begun preparations for the release of two more hostages on Friday.

"Another humanitarian operation will be hosted tomorrow in Caqueta province, when councilor Armando Acuna and marine Henry Lopez Martinez will be released," the ICRC statement said.

The release of the last two hostages is scheduled for February 13, according to the statement.

"The third operation will be on February 13 in Tolima province, when soldier Salin Antonio Valderrama and police captain Gueillermo Solorzano will be released," it added.

FARC rebels kidnapped Baquero, former municipal council presidents of San Jose del Guaviare, along with Acuna, councilor for the city of Garzon, in 2009.

The rebels have been holding Solorzano captive since 2007, while Sanmiguel and Lopez Martinez were taken prisoner in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

FARC -- considered Latin America's oldest and largest insurgent group -- has been battling the government in Bogota for 45 years.

The rebel organization has an estimated 8,000 fighters operating across a large swath of the Eastern jungles of the Andean nation.
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