Photo: FARC rebel group
Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group said Saturday they are willing to free two police captured on Jan. 25 and a soldier grabbed this week in the Andean nation’s southwest.
The group’s secretariat, or high command, made the announcement on its Web site, making mention of the soldier for the first time but not identifying him.
The guerrillas for the first time claimed responsibility for the capture of policemen Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Alfonso Gonzalez, saying they were taken prisoner while “conducting intelligence work aimed at striking at guerrilla units.”
“We also captured a private (during combat with army units Tuesday in the southwestern province of Nariño) whom we’re also willing to hand over simultaneously, along with the aforementioned police,” the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said.
“We can report to their families that they are in good condition and receiving respectful and dignified treatment. We will proceed to make arrangements to release them through the mediation of (the NGO) Colombians for Peace and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the FARC added.
The rebels did not refer to a date when the three security force members might be freed.
News of the capture of Yate and Gonzalez and this week’s kidnapping and subsequent release of three petroleum engineers, as well as an uptick in clashes between the guerrillas and the army, has overshadowed the current round of peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government in Havana.