HomeNewsBriefFARC Set to Release Kidnapped Police
BRIEF

FARC Set to Release Kidnapped Police

COLOMBIA / 14 FEB 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombia’s largest guerrilla group the FARC was set to release two abducted policemen, and promised to free a soldier, in a gesture that could calm the controversy that threatened to destabilize peace talks with the government.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to hand the hostages over to delegates from the Red Cross and NGO Colombians for Peace on February 14, after the military said they would suspend operations in the area.

The FARC kidnapped the two policemen in the province of Valle del Cauca on January 25. According to police, the officers had been investigating criminal activities in a rural zone on the outskirts of Cali.

The rebels still hold Josue Alvarez, a soldier kidnapped in the southwestern department of Nariño on 30 January, but will release him in a separate operation on 16 February, according to negotiators.

Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), announced on 12 February that it had released five of the six kidnapped employees of Geo Explorer, a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Braeval.

However, the claim was promptly dismissed by the army who said they had made no contact with the ELN and there was no trace of the hostages.

The hostages now look set to be released as early as February 15, after the military confirmed they were in discussions with the guerrillas.

The fate of the two German tourists also kidnapped by the ELN in January remains uncertain.

Elsewhere in Colombia, fighting between the military and the guerrillas continued, with seven soldiers and six FARC guerrillas reported killed in combat in Caqueta.

InSight Crime Analysis

After the kidnappings, the FARC made an announcement defending their right to take “prisoners of war,” suggesting that the men could be held for some time.

However, it makes sense that the rebels are backing down so quickly. It is likely the guerrillas carried out the kidnappings as a show of strength in the wake of their failed attempts to secure a bilateral ceasefire. This backfired as public outrage over the kidnappings fueled headlines proclaiming the peace talks to be in crisis, and left the guerrillas facing a PR dilemma.

It is likely the ELN also had an eye on the peace talks when kidnapping the mining workers, hoping to muscle their way into the negotiating table. However, this was a risky strategy which took a turn for the worse over their far-fetched claims the two elderly Germans were spies, making a speedy release of the mining hostages, who will likely soon be joined by the Germans, a better option.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 13 JUL 2016

Authorities in Colombia say they have dismantled the largest wildlife trafficking ring ever discovered in the country, lifting the veil…

COLOMBIA / 31 MAY 2011

Two mayoral candidates were abducted and murdered in northern Colombia in an attack attributed to the FARC guerrilla group, providing…

COLOMBIA / 12 JUN 2017

Colombia's defense minister announced that a questionably high number of ELN guerrilla fighters had been "neutralized" this year, in what…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…