The last ten of guerrilla group FARC‘s political hostages were reunited with their families Monday, ending one of the most tragic episodes of Colombia’s armed conflict.
Following their successful recovery by hostage mediators and Red Cross representatives in the central Colombian jungle, the hostages were taken to the city of Villavicencio, received by medics of the security forces and some immediately reunited with family members in the VIP lounge of the small airport.
Following the private meeting with their families and a short medical check, the former hostages will be taken to Bogota where more family members are waiting and press will be allowed to interview the policemen and soldiers.
The release of all ten came as a surprise as the initial plan was to pick up five on Monday and another five on Wednesday.
The hostage release marks a milestone in the Colombian conflict as all remaining hostages were held captive in the jungle for more than 12 years despite fierce public indignation and repeated emotional calls by members of the policemen and soldiers to release their loved ones.
For years, the FARC held the members of the security forces captive as political leverage and to exchange them with family members of the guerrilla group held in Colombian and U.S. prisons.
In December, the FARC announced the release of some of the hostages, but in January the group announced to release all and abandon the practice of kidnapping.