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Colombia: four soldiers and six police officers released by FARC-EP

02-04-2012 News Release

Villavicencio / Bogotá (ICRC) – In the last few hours, in a rural area on the border between Meta and Guaviare departments, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP) released four soldiers and six police officers – all those whose release had been announced by the armed group in December and January.

 They were handed over to a team made up of members of Colombians for Peace and delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  

"We're overjoyed that in just one day this operation will successfully reunite 10 families, putting an end to their agonizing wait," said Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia. "The relief of these families is a source of great satisfaction to us."

The freed members of the police and armed forces are currently on board a helicopter supplied by the Brazilian government and duly bearing the red cross emblem. They are being flown to the city of Villavicencio, from where they will subsequently be taken to Bogotá in a government plane.

The members of the armed forces, all first sergeants, are Luis Alfredo Moreno Chagueza and Robinson Salcedo Guarín, captured during the taking of Miraflores, Guaviare, in 1998, and Luis Arturo Arcia and Luis Alfonso Beltrán Franco, captured during the taking of Billar, Caquetá, in 1998. The members of the police forces are José Libardo Forero, a first sergeant; Carlos José Duarte, Wilson Rojas Medina, Jorge Humberto Romero and Jorge Trujillo Solarte, superintendents captured during the taking of Puerto Rico Meta in 1999; and César Augusto Lasso Monsalve, a sergeant major captured in 1998 following the taking of Mitú.

The ICRC is grateful to the Brazilian government for supplying the aircraft and crew that made this operation possible, and to the Colombian government and the FARC-EP for their cooperation. The ICRC also extends its thanks to Colombians for Peace and to the Colombian Red Cross for their support at Villavicencio airport.

In its capacity as an impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC reiterates its willingness to facilitate the release of others held by armed groups.

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC Bogotá (in Spanish), tel. +57 311 4910775
Pascal Jequier, ICRC Bogotá (in French and English), tel. +57 1 313 8630 or +57 311 491 07 89
Sandra Lefcovich, ICRC Brasilia (in Portuguese), tel. +55 61 81 22 01 19 or +57 310 76 494 03