Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC on Saturday claimed responsibility for the recent killing of two policemen in the southwest of the country.
In a press release published on the rebels’ website, the FARC’s top political body said the rebels who had detained the police officers felt forced to execute their captives amid military operations that sought to liberate the policemen from the rebels.
Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War
“Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.”
“The officer and the patrolman were in the township of San Luis Robles, dressed as civilians and carrying out tasks related to the consolidation as part of the Spade of Honor II Plan as carried out by the security forces” in an ongoing offensive against illegal armed groups in the southwest of Colombia, said the FARC.
“In this condition, they were apprehended by fighters of the Daniel Aldana column of the FARC-EP,” the rebel command continued.
Following accusations the FARC had been guilty of kidnapping and killing the policeman, FARC commander “Rodrigo Granda” had promised an internal investigation.
Cops executed to avoid rebels’ capture or death
Instead of handing the prisoners to humanitarian organizations, the rebel captors executed the policemen as an unleashed manhunt involving “dozens of helicopters” impeded the rebels to contact their superiors and proceed to request a release. “The fighters who were holding them felt forced to act against them, making sure not to use their firearms for security reasons,” said the FARC leadership.
Instead, the policemen were beaten to death by unidentified blunt objects, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The FARC sent out a “voice of support” to the killed policemen’s “family and colleagues. The war Colombians are living for more than half a century on a daily basis costs the lives of many sons and daughters of a people that deserves peace.”
The rebel leaders called on increasing efforts to negotiate a political solution for Colombia’s armed conflict.
FARC and government negotiators have been engaged in peace talks since November 2012. According to the FARC’s Central Command, these talks offer “the only viable, civilized and humane alternative to put an end to this lengthy confrontation.”
However, presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, a vocal critic of the peace, demanded the government pull out of the negotiations as the double execution were an “infringement of the peace process.”
Police calls FARC justification ‘cynical’
National Police commander General Rodolfo Palomino responded to the FARC’s statement, calling the rebels’ justification of the double homicide “cycnical.”
“They admit to be the perpetrators of this atrocious crime,” said Palomino, who went on to describe teh FARC’s justification of their fighters’ actions as “inadmissible.”
“That is cynical,” said Palomino.
The police chief demanded the FARC surrender the killers to the authorities “so they respond for what they must respond for.”
President Juan Manuel Santos, who initiated the talks with the FARC, called the double homicide a “cowardly assassination” that “will not go unpunished.”
- Comunicado (FARC-EP)