With the release of FARC hostages Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Joshua Daniel Calvo still pending, the Brazilian air force, which had since last week been positioned on the Colombian border ready to support the operation, on Monday returned to base, reports W Radio.
The Brazilian helicopters had been stationed at a location on the Colombian border since last Thursday, awaiting the final instructions for the hostage release, which was planned to occur over the weekend.
However, with unexpected delays to the operation, which mediator Piedad Cordoba on Monday attributed to the FARC’s failure to sign a security protocol, the helicopters were forced to return to their bases.
According to another mediator to the operation, Bishop Leonardo Gomez Serna, “There was a bit of a delay on the part of the FARC to decide the exact co-ordinates and the peace commissioner said that if they did not pass them on today [Monday] before 9 AM, they would return to base.”
Gomez Serna said, however, that the aircraft had not moved far from the Colombian-Brazilian border.
For his part the secretary general of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, warned that the situation may cause a further delay in release of the hostages.
“Them returning to Brazil means more of a delay in the liberation operation and this could mean three, four or five days,” said Cordoba.
The release of the hostage has now been delayed by more than two days since the operation was confirmed by mediators last week.
Both hostages are Colombian soldiers. Moncayo has been held by the FARC since 1997, while Calvo has been held since April 2009.