The Red Cross on Thursday entered FARC controlled area in the southwest of Colombia to receive two policemen who were captured by rebels earlier this month.
This initial phase of the release process is part of a protocol signed on Wednesday by the Colombian government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the NGO, Colombians for the Peace (CCP), led by the former Senator Piedad Cordoba.
The humanitarian mission agreed to go on two separate missions; one to retrieve the two policemen, and another to release a soldier captured by the FARC in January.
“It is very complex to negotiate in the middle of the conflict” said Cordoba, “Therefore, with much insistence, we have requested a bilateral truce, this is important because it allows the people to compromise in the exercise of peace.”
The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest rebel movement, banned kidnapping for economical and political reason in February last year. It has since held “political prisoners” but these were released within weeks after their kidnapping, apparently without ransom.
The rebel group has been involved in peace talks with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos since late last year. Both parties have expressed their desire to end the armed conflict between rebels and state that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions over the past decades.