Representatives of Colombia’s armed forces and the Red Cross met on Friday morning to sign the security protocols required to move forward with operations to secure the release of five hostages.
The rebel group said on December 8 that it would free five of the people that it is currently holding prisoner, including three members of the security forces and two local politicians. The logistics of the operation are currently being organized.
After the guerrillas are sent the agreed security protocol and have given the coordinates of where the hostages can be picked up, the army will be ordered to suspend military activity against the FARC for 36 hours to allow the release to proceed safely.
“The moment the national government, through the Ministry of Defense and the general command, order us to stop or change the course of operations, we will do as ordered,” army commander General Alejandro Navas told Caracol Radio.
According to the official, the armed forces need 23 hours to suspend activities after the order is given.
Mediator and former senator Piedad Cordoba said that last year’s severe rainy season had been delaying the operations, and that she was waiting for the guerrillas to give her the coordinates of the five locations where the hostages will be released. The FARC told Venezuelan news network TeleSUR earlier this week that it had not sent the coordinates because it had not yet received the security protocols.
Update (Friday, 11:53AM ET)