Report by JENIFERLAMUG
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels had released on Monday the last 10 police officers who they held in the country’s jungle for 12 to 14 years, in the hope of forcing an exchange for jailed guerrillas, reports AFP news.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the release but said the move was “insufficient.”
The 10 men were carried by a Brazilian air force helicopter and landed at the airport in Villavicencio, the capital of Meta department located some 110 kilometers (70 miles) south of the capital Bogota.
They were welcomed by their families and relatives, including group of foreign well –wishers and Nobel peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala.
Maria Cristina Rivera, spokeswoman of International Committee of the Red Cross, said the hostage release took place over several hours "in a rural area between Meta and Guaviare departments.
According to reports, President Santos had urged the FARC leftist to go beyond their February pledge of kidnapping for ransom. In his televised address, he said "We share in the joy of these releases, and we especially appreciate the pledge by the FARC to stop kidnapping.”
Though Santos considered the release as “a step in the right decision,” it still is not enough as there are still hundreds of hostages held by them. He demanded of their release as a proof to their commitment to peace.
"Make no mistake: this government has a policy, which consists in facing the violent groups with all its might," Santos said.
The FARC was founded in 1964 and it is Colombia’s largest and oldest insurgent group with an estimated 18,000 fighters.