FARC commander “Mono Jojoy” ordered the execution of 47 guerrillas from FARC’s 7th Front who were in charge of guarding the four hostages rescued by the Colombian army in “Operation Chameleon”, army commander General Oscar Gonzales said on Wednesday.
Reports do not indicate how the authorities learned of the FARC order or the reason behind its issuance, but armed forces commander General Freddy Padilla said that the 47 guerrillas had fled the jungle camp where they were holding the hostages, following the Colombian army’s surprise attack on Sunday.
Padilla also said that all of the guerrillas escaped alive, and nobody on either side was killed in the operation.
Capitalizing on the successful rescue mission on Sunday that freed General Mendieta, Colonel Murillo, Colonel Donato and Sergeant Arbey Argote after twelve years in FARC custody, Colombia President Alvaro Uribe and peace commissioner Frank Pearl reiterated their calls for the guerrillas to demobilize and hand over their remaining hostages before facing the wrath of either the Colombian military or their FARC bosses.
“Those who are guarding the hostages are at risk; we invite them to come to an [army] brigade, a church, a town’s Ombudsman, and to bring with them the hostages, and to begin a new life,” Pearl said.
Pearl said that “there is generous legal framework for those who deliver hostages, giving them a [new] legal life. If the guerrillas do not bring the hostages but have information on their whereabouts, they can also receive these benefits.”
Operation Chameleon was the result of a three-month mission that involved some 300 Colombian soldiers, and started after the capture of “Marcos Parrilla,” a member of the FARC’s 1st Front, which is responsible for the captivity of the hostages.
Seventeen members of Colombia’s police and army remain in FARC captivity, one of whom, Corporal Jose Martinez, has been held hostage for thirteen years.