Brazilian helicopters arrived in Cali Wednesday to start the last of three hostage pick ups that Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC
promised to release. Former Valle deputy Sigifredo López is expected to
be re-united with his family Thursday
López is the sixth hostage to be released this week. Sunday the FARC released four members of the security forces and Tuesday former Meta governor Alan Jara.
The former deputy of Valle de Cauca was taken hostage in 2002 together with 11 of his colleagues when FARC guerrillas stormed the Department Assembly in Cali and kidnapped the twelve lawmakers. López is the only remaining deputy that was taken hostage. According the FARC, the other eleven were killed in cross fire with the army, but the Government accuses the rebels of having executed the others.
López is also the last remaining civilian in a group that the guerrillas have designated as “prisoners of war.” The FARC wants to exchange these captives for 500 guerrillas held in Colombian and U.S. prisons.
The mission to pick up López consists of three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, opposition senator Piedad Córdoba and the Brazilian helicopter crew.