In a press statement, the US embassy in Bogota said to “condemn the kidnapping of this civilian and demand the swift release” of the veteran, who according to the FARC is held as a prisoner of war because of his ties to the US military that is active in the South American country.
However, according to the American embassy, “Kevin Scott Sutay is an American citizen with no current ties to the Armed Forces of the United States.”
According to the brief press statement, the US is working together with Colombian authorities to secure the release of the American.
The FARC on Friday announced the capture of the former Navy engineer while calling on the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations to begin proceedings necessary to release the hostage.
According to a reporter who claimed having met the victim in the southern town of San Jose del Guaviare, the veteran was planning on walking from the Guaviare department to the Venezuelan border, an extremely dangerous area because it is one of the main routes to transport drugs from coca fields in the south of Colombia to the neighboring country.
The FARC said the American hostage told them he served in the US Navy between November 2009 until March this year and is an Afghanistan war veteran.
The American was carrying his passport, indicating he entered Colombia on June 8 after visiting Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. The FARC said he was subsequently taken prisoner in El Retorno, a municipality located in the southern Colombian jungles, on June 20, said the rebels.
The American soldier is the first US citizen to be held by the FARC since July 2008 when three kidnapped American military contractors were rescued from their FARC captors.
The rebel group has since banned kidnapping for economic reasons, but reserved the right to capture enemy combatants.
El Retorno, Guaviare
- Press release US embassy