The FARC says that it holds no more than nine people for “economic” reasons and admits to holding prisoner twenty members of the security forces.
Colombia’s Defense Ministry ordered a cleanup of its records after the FARC admitted the nine “economic” hostages, while País Libre, an organization defending the rights and well-being of former hostages, said the FARC had more than 300.
The government reviewed its records and removed 1,173 people from the hostage records. The majority of these people were already free; however, 18 had died and some never even been kidnapped.
Still missing are 1,502 Colombians. However, they are not considered hostages, because the government was never notified if their families had received any demands for their release or heard from any illegal armed group about their detention.
País Libre, claiming the FARC alone has more than 300 hostages, calls the government report “shameful” and considers it unacceptable that the Government has no idea about the whereabouts of 1,502 people.
“Not just País Libre, but the whole country should know how this investigation was done and what happened with each of the cases that we counted, because after the cleanup we did recently, the FARC alone has some 320 hostages.”