The Colombian government has forbidden the presence of outsiders during a FARC hostage handover next week, reported local media Wednesday.
Colombians For Peace, an NGO that negotiates with the guerrillas and is participating in the handover, had wanted to invite various dignataries, including the vice-president of Ecuador and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Men-chu.
Bringing outsiders to look on would be highly inappropriate, said Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin. “We do not want this to become a show. These are human lives, people who have spent close to 14 years in the jungle and all we want is for them to return to their families. This is not a show.”
Only Colombians for Peace, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Brazilian government, who are all actively taking part in the handover, will be allowed to attend, confirmed the Ministry of Defense.
The release of the ten security force hostages has been promised for many months by the FARC. Colombia’s largest guerrilla groups still holds an unknown number of civilian hostages, though promised to end the practice of kidnapping earlier this year.