The rescue mission was achieved after the armed forces managed to close off the zone on the northwest Colombia’s Atrato River, where the situation took place. The released hostages were flown to the department’s capital, Quibdo, in a helicopter belonging to the air force, and in the company of army and navy personnel.
The peasants who had been captured reported that three armed guerrillas ordered them to turn off the Atrato River onto the Negua River, a tributary of the former, where they were forced to stay for more than three days.
Choco Public Defender Victor Raul Mosquera praised the labors of the armed forces and expressed confidence that after the intervention, Atrato River communities would be able to resume their daily activities with peace of mind.
According to media reports, the armed forces did not encounter any of the guerrillas responsible for the act.
Although initial reports regarding the situation indicated that between 200 and 250 peasants were being held hostage, Military Chief Admiral Edgar Cely denied these claims on Tuesday, stating that it was not certain that more than 100 people were being held.