An ex-FARC leader, who was apparently crucial in facilitating the rescue of four kidnapped soldiers almost exactly one year ago, has complained that the Colombian government has so far reneged on a promised reward of $1.4 million (COP2.5 billion), La W Radio reported Tuesday.
“Operation Chameleon” successfully rescued four army soldiers who had been held in captivity by the FARC for 12 years on June 13, 2010, involving 20 commandos who stormed the area in camouflage, while over 300 operatives played some part in the rescue mission.
However, the former third-in-command of the FARC’s 7th Front, Jaime Lozada, alias “Agustin,” was allegedly instrumental in identifying the location of the hostages, after demobilizing and giving the exact coordinates of where they were being held in the southern department of Guaviare.
Lozada said that he demobilized and was subsequently sent on a plane over the region where the hostages were detained, upon which he “gave [the army] the coordinates on June 8 and five days later they rescued them.”
The ex-guerrilla stated that he has not received the reward that was offered and that “they have not kept [their promise] to me…I was the one that delivered all the coordinates, I was [there] seven months and always remained with a GPS, therefore I delivered the exact site.”
General Luis Mendieta, one of the rescued hostages, confirmed that he had met the ex-guerrilla and that he had been one of his captors. “This person, alias ‘Agustin,’ was actually in the camp with us for the last eight months.”
An armed forces member, meanwhile, confirmed that the former guerrilla was a “very important person, because he knew exactly where the hostages were found,” adding that he had worked with the military forces following his demobilization.
According to La W Radio, there is an eight-month delay in the payment of rewards, while the Ministry of Defense apparently said that the “Operation Chameleon” reward money has been delayed even further.