The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), stung by last week’s rescue of their most prized hostage, planned to raid the high-security Doña Juana prison in the northern province of Caldas, the government said.
Police and troops aided by artillery helicopters surrounded the jail on Thursday. Arms found inside were to be used by FARC prisoners to help them break out during the raid, Interior Minister Fabio Valencia told reporters.
“The guerrillas wanted to free some of the prisoners who were from their ranks,” he said.
Betancourt, a French-Colombian citizen kidnapped during her 2002 presidential campaign, was freed when intelligence officers duped her rebel captors into releasing her, three Americans and 11 Colombian soldiers and police officers who had been held for years in secret jungle camps.
Of the 2,000 prisoners in Dona Juana, more than 500 are guerrillas held for insurrection, drug-smuggling and kidnapping. The FARC has been warring against the Colombian state for more than four decades. (Reuters)