Colombian police dismantle guerrilla kidnapping network

Colombia’s National Police has captured nine suspected FARC rebels accused of kidnapping soldiers and police, said an official press release Thursday.

The arrests were the result of raids in the cities of Bogota, Villavicencio, Neiva, Giron, and Santander.

The rebels were allegedly part of a FARC kidnapping network, and are collectively accused of dozens of kidnappings; including those of Army Sergeants Robinson Salcedo Guarin and Luis Alfredo Moreno – who are still in FARC custody after 12 years.

According to police, the network was originally lead by FARC leader Victor Julio Suarez Rojas, alias “El Mono Jojoy.” Suarez was killed in an airstrike in 2010.

Police also said that according to testimony from former hostages, the captured guerrillas were also part of the 1998 FARC storming of Miraflores, in which 19 Colombian soldiers were killed and 129 police and soldiers were captured. Colombian newspaper El Espectador called it, “a critical strike to the heart of the Police and Army and a triumph for the FARC.”

The rebels will face charges of kidnapping, terrorism, aggravated murder, and rebellion.

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