The Colombian army will give a $1.3 million (COP2.5 billion) reward to the informants who provided information leading to the rescue of four FARC hostages last weekend, announced army commander Oscar Gonzalez on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference Gonzalez explained that “Operation Chameleon,” which freed four members of the armed forces who had spent the last twelve years in FARC captivity, was achieved with the collaboration of several informants.
The commander did not, however, specify the number of informants used in the operation, and kept their identity hidden.
Gonzalez also presented for the first time images filmed by the army during the rescue mission. The film showed the moment in which the four men were lifted in a helicopter away from the jungle, and their arrival in Bogota to be reunited with their families.
The protection of the liberated men is now a priority of the army, who claim that the FARC plan to assassinate the former hostages.
“It is certain. They refer to them in supremely vulgar and obscene terms and gave orders for their assassination,” said Gonzalez.
Finally, the army commander repeated that “without a doubt” guerrillas would be compensated and offered protection if they demobilized and helped in the liberation of hostages – an offer that President Alvaro Uribe made on Monday.
General Mendieta, Colonel Murillo, Colonel Donato and Sergeant Arbey Argote were last Sunday liberated in a rescue operation by Colombia’s armed forces in the department of Guaviare, after spending the last twelve years in FARC captivity. The rescue mission involved some 300 members of Colombia’s army.
Seventeen members Colombia’s police and army remain in FARC captivity, one of whom, Corporal Jose Martinez, has been held hostage for thirteen years.