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Colombia: Soldier released in Nariño

16-02-2013 News Release 13/27

Bogotá / Geneva (ICRC) – A member of the Colombian armed forces being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) was today released into the care of a humanitarian team made up of representatives of the ICRC and of the organization Colombianos y Colombianas por la Paz. The handover took place in a rural area of Nariño department, in south-western Colombia.

The soldier, Josué Álvarez, was taken in an ICRC vehicle to Policarpa municipality, where the ICRC will deliver him to the authorities. The ICRC is grateful to the Colombian Red Cross for its logistical and medical support, which contributed to the successful outcome of this operation.

“We hope Mr Álvarez will soon be reunited with his family,” said Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia. “We are delighted that the operation went smoothly.”

The soldier was captured by the FARC-EP on 30 January in Policarpa municipality, Nariño department.

Over the course of this week, the ICRC has now facilitated the release of eight people held by armed groups, including five civilians in the hands of the National Liberation Army.

The ICRC has been taking part in this type of humanitarian operation in Colombia for more than a decade, thanks to the confidential dialogue it maintains with all the parties to the conflict and to its reputation as a trustworthy neutral intermediary.

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

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera (in Spanish), ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 75
Alexis Heeb (in English, French and Spanish), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 218 76 10