In a video released online, FARC commander Ivan Marquez said Corporal Luis Alfonso Beltran, Sergeant Cesar Augusto Lasso and Second Lieutenants Carlos Jose Duarte, Jorge Trujillo Solarte, Jorge Romero and Jose Libardo Forero would be set free.
Marquez said the men, some of whom have been held as long as 13 years, would be released into the care of the International Red Cross in the next few days. The FARC’s decision followed a request from ex-senator Piedad Cordoba and other peace activists, he said.
The guerrilla leader described the hostages’ imminent liberation as “an act of peace,” not just “words” — echoing President Juan Manuel Santos‘ demand made of the rebels last month. Marquez went on to claim there had been “a complete lack of any similar gestures” on the part of the Colombian state.
The Colombian Constitution should be amended to include prisoner exchange as an obligation of the state, he added.
The Colombian government has repeatedly demanded the release of all hostages as a pre-condition for any peace negotiations.
Another five members of the security forces are being held by the FARC, alongside an unknown number of civilians.