According to The Latin American Tribune, FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels will release Colombian Army Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate and four other people they are holding next week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday (November 22).
“The coordinates have been received. I’m giving instructions to facilitate the release for next week,” Santos wrote on Twitter.
He was referring to the specific location where the FARC rebels will hand the individuals over to a Red Cross-led humanitarian delegation.
The guerrillas took the commander of the Titan Joint Task Force prisoner last Sunday (November 16) in Las Mercedes, a remote hamlet in the northwestern jungle province of Choco, along with Corp. Jorge Rodríguez and attorney Gloria Urrego, an action that led Santos to suspend peace talks with the FARC in Havana.
The FARC on Tuesday acknowledged that they were holding the three individuals. Through mediation with Cuba and Norway, the rebels pledged to release them along with two soldiers who were captured on November 9 after a clash in the northeastern province of Arauca.
The government has said its peace negotiators will return to the negotiating table once the general and the other individuals are released.
COMMENT: It appears they are no consequences for kidnapping in Colombia, regardless of the circumstances or motivations.
A major tactical misstep for President Santos, who seems to be obsessed with securing a deal with the FARC…at any cost!
The circumstances surrounding the general’s capture are being investigated because the senior military officer arrived by boat in Las Mercedes dressed in civilian clothes and without a bodyguard, prompting Santos to ask Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón and armed forces chief Gen. Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragan for an explanation.
Separately, an attack on a police station attributed to the FARC left at least one police officer dead, four wounded and three missing Saturday on the Pacific island of Gorgona, which is administratively part of Cauca province.
Cauca Gov. Temistocles Ortega blamed the attack on the rebels and said the police were merely providing security for tourists visiting a national park.