After 13 years in captivity, Sergeant Major Cesar Augusto Monsalve Lasso could only thank his country and those who helped free him from the hands of the FARC.
“To you, thank you very much, we went to serve our country,” he told radio network RCN.
Following their successful recovery by hostage mediators and Red Cross representatives in the central Colombian jungle, the ten hostages were flown to the city of Villavicencio. Some were received by military medics, while others were immediately reunited with family members in the VIP lounge of the small airport.
Some of the hostages have begun to reveal how they initially found out about their release.
Sergeant Robinson Salcedo told how he first heard the news February 26 while watching a soccer game on television.
“We were ready to leave after June, but at all times we kept our faith and strength […] It gave us life,” he told reporters.
The hostages spent their first night undergoing health checks at a military hospital.
“They start the evaluation protocol and from the moment they enter they will have a medical team and a psychiatric staff on hand,” Deputy Medical Director Colonel Clara Galvis told newspaper El Pais.
Galvis expects to release the first medical reports of the hostages by Tuesday morning.