Colombia’s Catholic Church wants the FARC to release more than the promised two hostages and hopes all political hostages will be free by January, monseignor Juan Vicente Cordoba told newspaper El Tiempo.
The clergy responded to a statement by the rebels wherein they confirm their intention to release the two soldiers and ask guarantees from the government to ensure the release can take place without incidents.
However, according to the church, the rebels are able to release more hostages and should come up with a plan to gradually release all political hostages.
“It seems to me that two or three officials is very few. I insist that is be a larger number and I propose a gradual handover of all hostages. This means that in four or five releases, from now until January next year, they release all,” Cordoba told the newspaper.
Until last week, the Colombian government demanded the release of all hostages at once and would not allow Senator Cordoba to help mediate the release. The government now allows Cordoba as mediator and dropped the demand of the release of all members of the military at once.
However, the Uribe administration does demand the FARC to release all hsotages gradually, while the FARC insist on a “humanitarian exchange” of captured members of Colombia’s military for imprisoned guerrillas.
The FARC is holding 24 members of Colombia’s security forces captive and is suspected to have kidnapped several hundred civilians for extortion purposes.