“The capture of a mercenary within a war zone is not a kidnapping,” rebel negotiator Jesus Santrich told reporters.
The comments came in light of the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Sutay, an American last seen traveling in the Colombian department of Guaviare. FARC leaders have already acknowledged that they have Sutay in their possession, and negotiations are underway for his safe return. Still, there is disagreement as to what exactly the incident represents.
The United States government has said that, while he was a member of the US Armed Forces as late as March of 2013, Sutay was traveling in Colombia as a civilian at the time of his abduction in late June. Accordingly, US and Colombian officials have both refer to Sutay’s capture as a “kidnapping,” and President Juan Manuel Santos has called it a “flagrant violation” of the FARC ban on kidnapping.
But Santrich was adamant that FARC has not violated the terms of the Havana talks.
“It’s not true that they broke the no-kidnapping pact. The US soldier was captured in the midst of mercenary work…It is not a kidnapping, we found him in a war zone.”
Meanwhile, FARC continues its “good faith” negotiations to deliver Sutay to Colombian authorities, even as the FBI and Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office team up to investigate the circumstances surrounding what they are convinced was an illegal violation of peace efforts.
- Los Farc sostienen que no secuestraron a Sutay (La Semana)