The family of a soldier, who has been held by the ELN since last week after being captured in combat, took to the streets on Monday to demand the release of their loved one.
The ELN, Colombia’s largest rebel group, confirmed the capture of Fabian Carlos Huertas on Monday. According to a guerrilla statement, the soldier was taken prisoner after a guerrilla ambush that killed at least nine soldiers in the northern Norte de Santander department last Wednesday.
Following the ELN’s admitted responsibility in the imprisonment of the soldier, Huertas’ family begged the guerrillas to let their loved one go as they marched through the streets of San Roque, a small town in the southern department of Huila.
“With all my heart I ask you to respect life. For the love of God do not hurt me. Let my son back to the house as soon as possible,” said the soldier’s mother Aide Huertas on Monday.
The mother said that the past five days living with the uncertainty of the health and whereabouts of her son “have been the saddest ever passed. This has taken me half my life,”
Despite the fate of her son, the woman thanked God the soldier was alive at least. “Look at everything that happened and my son is still alive. His companions were killed. How will I pay God?”
Huertas’ four-months-pregnant girlfriend, Cindy Lorena Suarez, said the news her boyfriend was not dead returned her soul back to her body. “Thank God there is a voice of encouragement, that he is fine, that he is alive,” she said.
The ELN has not made any pronouncements on surrendering their prisoner of war, which they are obligated to under international war law. The guerrillas, apart from identifying their alleged captive, did not release proof of life material to corroborate the claim they are holding Huertas.