Colombian Civil Conflict News of the Day: FARC, Colombia’s notorious rebel group and the last major rebel movement in Latin America, announced today it plans to release all remaining “prisoners of war” and swear off kidnapping for good.
In a statement posted to its website, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said all 10 security force members still being held will be released. Some of the kidnapped security force members have been hostages of FARC for well over a decade.
The government, which has said in the past that halting the practice of kidnapping was necessary before peace talks could be conducted, remained skeptical of the rebels’ declaration.
“We value the FARC’s announcement that it is renouncing kidnapping as an important and necessary, if insufficient, step in the right direction,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement posted to his Twitter feed.
Government officials believe FARC is holding two additional security force members.
FARC was founded in 1964. It took up ransom kidnapping in the 90’s, turning the republic into “the world’s kidnapping capital.” It remains unknown how many civilian hostages the rebels currently hold, nor if today’s announcement applies to them as well.