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Colombia: A neutral intermediary

18-06-1997 News Release 97/23

The release on 15 June of some 70 government soldiers held by guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was the outcome of a long process of negotiation between a number of parties. The ICRC transferred the freed soldiers from their places of detention to a site where they were examined by ICRC and Colombian Red Cross Society medical staff. They were then formally handed over to the government side.

As part of its ongoing work aimed at ensuring that non-combatant civilians are spared the effects of fighting, the ICRC has stepped up its presence in the conflict areas.

The ICRC will continue visiting places of detention throughout the country and providing medical assistance where required. Owing to the prevailing violence in Colombia, some 650,000 civilians have been driven from their homes to seek refuge safer areas. The ICRC is supplying them with food and medical assistance through the Colombian Red Cross.