One of the 23 hostages who were kidnapped Monday evening and of whom 22 were released Tuesday morning told media their kidnappers released them without apparent military pressure.
According to Caracol Radio, the oil worker’s version of events was different than that of Colombian army and of the country’s Defense Minister who had claimed that “the world fell upon the guerrillas” after the mass kidnapping. Instead, former hostage Roger Bertel said he and his colleagues were released without having seen a sign of army presence in the region.
Bertel told the radio station that the kidnappers did identify themselves as FARC guerrillas, but released the hostages the morning after their kidnapping for unknown reasons.
“We arrived at the camp again, just us, alone, without anybody coming to look for us and without anyone trying to rescue us. It was just them [the guerrillas] who sent us away,” the former hostage said.
According to Bertel, he and the other workers were kidnapped by four men while the soldiers who were in charge of the oil workers’ protection were playing dominos and watching films some 100 meters away.
“The guerrillas themselves said ‘we spent days watching their movements and all they did was play’,” said the former hostage.
According to the initial official version, the army had sent out 1,400 men to look for the hostages and claimed that one escaped hostage helped security forces to locate the hostages.