Colombian rebel group FARC announced Wednesday it has indefinitely suspended the promised release of six hostages on Wednesday because “the area we chose for the release … has been unduly militarized by the Colombian government.”
According to a press release on the FARC’s website, guerrilla informants within Colombia’s armed forces had warned the FARC that the Colombian government intends to carry out a military rescue of the six hostages.
The high command of the guerrilla group accused the government of preferring to deliver the hostages to their families dead rather than alive.
The FARC’s announcement followed last week’s government’s statement that it did not want to use a foreign country to provide helicopters and act as facilitator during the release operation, something which has been common in former operations.
“Despite the circumstances … our unilateral determination [to release the hostages], a decision arisen from the FARC’s political sovereignty and a deep sense of humanity, is still standing,” the FARC said.
The FARC promised to try to release the hostages “as soon as the insanity that has the [presidential] Nariño Palace in its grip subsides.”
In a response on Colombian Radio, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said the government did not know of the location of the pending release and therefore could not have intentionally frustrated it.
“The government can not be held responsible for the FARC’s physical torture of soldiers and civilians,” the minister said.
In a video released last week, FARC commander Ivan Marquez said Corporal Luis Alfonso Beltran, Sergeant Cesar Augusto Lasso and Second Lieutenants Carlos Jose Duarte, Jorge Trujillo, Jorge Romero and Jose Libardo Forero would be set free.
The six are part of 11 members of the security forces held hostage by the FARC in the Colombian jungle. The guerrillas also hold an unknown number of civilians hostage for extortion purposes.