A general, two colonels and a sergeant from Colombia’s armed forces, who were rescued from FARC captivity in a military operation on Sunday, flew to Bogota on Monday to be reunited with their families.
The men touched down in Bogota’s military airport at 10.30 AM, to be met by Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, members of the Colombian military, and by their families.
Speaking to reporters at the landing strip, Silva expressed his pride and gratitude for the efforts of the country’s armed forces.
Former hostage General Mendieta also expressed his gratitude. He thanked President Alvaro Uribe for his role in the rescue operation and the Colombian media for campaigning for the men’s rescue.
Sergeant Arbey Argote told reporters that during the operation “the guerrilla left running, they left their equipment” and said of the FARC – “they are savages, they made my daughters who I have not known suffer, they are young women now.”
Colonel William Donato described the operation as “clean” and “transparent” and went on to thank his family, as well as the military, Silva, Police Chief Oscar Naranjo and President Uribe.
“The Colombian army is the best in the world,” Donato said and went on to express hope that “the FARC understand that looking for a way out is not done with bombs or massacres and they decide to release the hostages.”
Finally Colonel Luis Enrique Murillo thanked the Colombian people who “acted in favor of the captives and against the FARC.”
The four men were liberated in a rescue operation by Colombia’s armed forces in the department of Guaviare, after having spent the last 12 years in FARC captivity. The rescue mission involved some 300 members of Colombia’s army.
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.