Colombia’s defense ministry on Sunday said it had suspended all military operations in part of the northeast of the country to allow a humanitarian mission safe access to the area where FARC rebels have promised to release two captured soldiers.
The suspension of military offensives in the Arauca state is the first of two that are expected in the coming days.
According to the ministry, the suspension took effect on Monday morning and will last until 4PM on Tuesday.
Operations in Choco not yet suspended
The FARC also vowed to release an army general and two others who were captured in the western Colombia state of Choco little over a week ago.
Military operations in that part of the country have not been suspended as the guerrillas have not yet told the Red Cross where General Ruban Dario Alzate can be picked up, said the ministry.
PROFILE: Ruben Dario Alzate
This was confirmed by leaders of the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, who said that ongoing military operations in the Choco state make it “unlikely to return general Alzate and his partners to freedom the coming week.”
However, according to the ministry, the FARC has failed to specify where they will release the general making it impossible to determine where to exactly suspend operations.
Peace talks remain on hold
As long as the FARC is holding the two soldiers who were captured in combat and the general who mysteriously walked into a FARC-controlled area without any security, peace talks with the group have been put on hold.
These talks — initiated two years ago this month — were suspended by President Juan Manuel Santos hours after the capture of the general.
- Comunicado a la opinion publica (Defense Ministry)
- Operativos ponen en peligro liberación del General Alzate y acompañantes (FARC-EP)