Colombia’s branch of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday said to have established contact with rebel group FARC to mediate the release of a former US Navy seaman who was taken hostage by the guerrillas in the south of the country.
“Contact has been established with the Colombian government, the United States embassy, former Senator Piedad Cordoba and the FARC,” ICRC spokesman Edgar Alfonso Serrano told Caracol Radio.
The Red Cross spokesman wouldn’t release further details on the progress of the mediation with the FARC, who announced they wanted to release the retired seaman in the same public statement in which they announced his kidnapping.
“The ICRC, because of its commitment as neutral intermediate, cannot give many details about the operations,” explained Serrano.
The FARC had asked the ICRC publicly to mediate and plan the operation necessary for U.S. citizen Kevin Scott Sutay, who the guerrillas said to have in their power for a month.
The rebels kidnapped the American in the southern Guaviare department from where the former official allegedly planned to walk to the Venezuelan border.
The Guaviare department is a FARC hotbed and the route along the river to Venezuela is known to be extremely dangerous because of the region’s importance for the export of cocaine.