Colombia’s armed forces commander General Freddy Padilla said Wednesday the army must focus on preventing kidnappings by guerrilla group the FARC, and that it will not stop using force to tackle insurgent activity, reported Colombian media.
The army commander stressed the importance of preventing kidnappings by the FARC – activity that he said had played a key role in financing the rebel organization.
“This money has financed the desires of the the [FARC] leaders, the purchase of arms and the construction of mines that have done a lot of damage to the country,” said Padilla, “Only the war [against the FARC] has allowed us to dismantle the money laundering and the string of abductions by the terrorist organization.”
Padilla went on to say that the army would prioritize efforts to release the 22 hostage that remain in FARC captivity, lamenting the fact that they had become “the longest abductions in history” and that they had caused the country “sadness, desolation and humiliation.”
The general’s statements follow news that a group of former FARC hostages is leading a march on an as yet unannounced date to demand “action” on the proposed humanitarian exchange of jailed FARC members for the remaining captives held by the guerrilla group.