• Connect with us on Linkedin

FARC Set to Release Kidnapped Police

Police officers who were kidnapped by the FARC Police officers who were kidnapped by the FARC

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.

Linkedin
Google +

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.

Linkedin
Google +

---

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

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link 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.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Most Read

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

As part of a tax evasion investigation, El Salvador prosecutors have seized documents and searched properties belonging to Texis Cartel leader "El Chepe Diablo" and two key business partners, in a sign that the elusive...

Read more

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The release of Rafael Caro Quintero from a Mexican prison in August 2013 was a blow to US-Mexico relations, the reputation of the Mexican justice system, and the drug war.

Read more

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

More details have emerged on the transport and seizure of a record seven tons of cocaine at the Colombian port of Cartagena, revealing that the shipment, bound for Europe, also involved Mexican cartels.

Read more