Two Colombian generals and a former hostage have claimed the FARC still holds prisoners of war despite the release of what the rebels said were their last political hostages last week, local media reportedWednesday.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, Colombian General Alejandro Navas said there were 128 soldiers in FARC custody who have not been accounted for. “They have been deprived of their liberty in combat, some are dead. We ask the FARC to to tell us their fate,” said Navas.
Navas’ statement follows a similar claim by General Sergio Mantilla’s last week. In an interview with newspaper El Espectador Mantilla said, “There’s around 50 soldiers who have disappeared over the last 15 years. People who disappeared in difficult zones in combat with the guerrillas. […] All we know is the FARC took them.”
In a military press release Army Sargeant Luis Alfredo Moreno – one of the ten recently released security force hostages – said an unspecified number of soldiers remained in FARC custody. “I want to say to all of Colombia that there are still hostages out in the jungle and we cannot forget about them,” said Moreno.
Moreno and three other soldiers left a Bogota military hospital Wednesday in good health following their release by the FARC last week. Some of the soldiers had been held by the guerrillas as long as 14 years.
Last February the FARC announced its intention to release all hostages and discontinue the practice of kidnapping. The FARC still has an unknown amount of civilian hostages in custody.