Soldiers on Sunday found a Colombian lawmaker who’d been held by
leftist guerrillas for eight years after he and his captor knew to escape the FARC camp they were in during an army attack.
Oscar Tulio Lizcano, 62, was found by an army patrol Sunday after araid on his camp a few days earlier in the remote jungle of western province of Choco.
The lawmaker knew to escape the camp together with FARC commander ‘Isaza’. Together they went looking for help. It took them days to encounter a military patrol.
Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos did not rule out rewarding the FARC commander for helping the lawmaker to escape. Colombian President uribe promised the guerrilla he would be sent to France to be protected from possible retaliations by the FARC.
Lizcano expressed his gratitude for the help of his captor during the escape, when talking to the press.
was rescued in an area of thick jungle,” the eldest of Lizcano’s two
sons, Mauricio, told The Associated Press by telephone. He said
President Alvaro Uribe called him early Sunday with the news, and said
his father was a bit weak.
Martha de Lizcano wept upon being told of her husband’s rescue.
“It’s been eight years of great suffering,” she told Caracol radio.
Lizcano was kidnapped on Aug. 5, 2000. Government officials
in recent weeks said FARC deserters had reported that his health was
delicate, though without offering details.
The rescue comes
nearly four months after Betancourt, a dual French national, and the
three Americans were freed in a sophisticated ruse engineered with the
help of a rebel turncoat in which Colombian military agents posing as
humanitarian workers helicoptered 15 FARC-held hostages to freedom
without a shot being fired.
In April, the FARC had released a
so-called “proof-of-life” video of Lizcano in which he pleaded with
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to do “the utmost to get us out of
here because we are rotting in the jungle.”
The FARC still holds
at least 20 high value politicians, police officers and soldiers —
including a provincial governor and a police colonel, some of whom have
been held for more than a decade.
It has been seriously weakened
in the past two years by a military that has been fortified and become
more professional and agile under Uribe thanks in considerable measure
to U.S. training, advising and intelligence-gathering. (Colombia Reports / AP)