FARC to free captive general next week: Santos

FARC to free captive general next week: Santos

Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:12PM GMT

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, plans to release a general and other captured military officials next week.

Santos made the announcement on Saturday in a Twitter message, noting that the country’s main rebel group had already given the coordinates of where the five captured officials would be delivered.

The planned release of General Ruben Alzate, Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and army adviser, Gloria Urrego, who were abducted on November 16, as well as two other soldiers taken earlier in the month, paves the way for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC.

On November 19, Cuba and Norway, which brokered negotiations for the military officials’ release, announced that a deal had been reached between the Colombian government and the FARC.

Following the announcement, Santos welcomed the agreement, adding that the Colombian government would dispatch its peace negotiators to the Cuban capital city of Havana to resume the peace talks with the FARC leaders as soon as the five hostages were released.

President Santos had earlier suspended the peace talks with the rebel group following the abduction of the military officials.

The peace talks between the Colombian government and the rebels had started in November 2012. There had not been a bilateral truce during the negotiations, but the rebels vowed to stop abducting civilians for ransom in 2012. However, they reserved the right to take police and soldiers captive as “prisoners of war.”

The FARC is Latin America’s oldest insurgent group and has been fighting the government since 1964. The rebel organization is thought to have around 8,000 fighters operating across a large swathe of the eastern jungles of the Andean country.

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