FARC leader “Mono Jojoy” said before his death that the guerrilla group would only release hostage members of the security forces through a prisoner exchange, according to an interview posted on website Kien&Ke.
The interview is part of a series allegedly recorded by Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero on September 3, less than three weeks before the guerrilla leader was killed in a bombing raid by government forces.
The FARC is currently holding 19 soldiers and policemen, some of which were kidnapped almost 12 years ago. In the video, Mono Jojoy discusses plans to negotiate a prisoner swap, releasing the hostages in exchange for the release of nearly 500 guerrillas being held in Colombia and the United States. He also said that bombing operations carried out by the government were “putting in danger” the lives of the hostages.
“The objective is the exchange and we will continue fighting for this,” Mono Jojoy said in the interview, which was recorded in September, 20 days before he was killed in a Colombian government attack on his camp.
The FARC have freed some prisoners in recent years, including soldiers Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Josue Daniel Calvo in March. After this release, the guerrillas said that there would be no further unilateral releases, and that from now on the guerrilla organization would only exchange hostages for imprisoned members of the FARC.