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Colombia: the uncertainty is the worst

18-04-2012 Feature

Extract from Colombia report 2011.

“Knowing that my husband wasn’t there was extremely difficult – it really threw me. But God gives you strength and I learnt to take life calmly and to do things I’d never done before. I also had to be strong for my three sons, to keep them on the rails and in school.”

That is how Nubia Segura describes her ordeal during the 22 months that her husband Armando Acuña, former councillor of Garzón, Huila, was in the hands of the FARC-EP. He was released on 11 February 2011 in an operation involving the ICRC, Colombians for Peace and the Brazilian government.

“The overwhelming uncertainty is the worst. Plus it all happened during the boys’ most difficult teenage years,” says Nubia, recalling that time. She says that she never received a phone call, letter or message of any kind. She didn’t know whether her husband was dead or alive. Nubia transmitted messages on the radio, not knowing whether her husband was receiving them.

On 8 December 2010 – the feast day of the Virgin Mary – Nubia received the news that her husband was going to be freed. “Then we got a phone call from a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who offered us psychological support to prepare us for the release. That was really important because we were able to talk about it and prepare ourselves to see him again. After all, people change, especially in those circumstances.”

Nubia describes how the family has overcome their ordeal and is gradually mending the wounds, one step at a time. Although it was very tough, the experience made Nubia stronger. As a result, she became a regional leader and entered politics. Now she is the councillor.


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© Reuters