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Colombia: local politician and naval seaman released

11-02-2011 News Release

Bogotá (ICRC) –On the afternoon of 11 February, Armando Acuña of the municipal council of Garzón and Marine Henry López Martínez of the Colombian Navy were released by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and handed over to a humanitarian delegation made up of former Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba, delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a member of Colombians for Peace. The handover took place in a rural area of Caquetá department.

Mr Acuña and Mr López were subsequently transferred to the city of Florencia, in a helicopter bearing the red cross emblem, provided by the Brazilian government. From there, they traveled to Bogotá to be reunited with their families. Mr Acuña had been held by the FARC for 20 months and Marine López for eight months.

On the same day, the ICRC evacuated a casualty to San Vicente del Caguán Hospital under a security agreement between the ICRC and the ministry of defence. The evacuation took place in a rural area of Caquetá, using another Brazilian military helicopter.

"The ICRC would like to thank the government of Brazil for its logistical support, and the government of Colombia, Piedad Córdoba and the FARC for their assistance in carrying out this humanitarian operation,” said Christophe Beney, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Colombia.

On 9 February, the FARC released Marcos Baquero, a member of the municipal council of San José de Guaviare, handing him over to the same humanitarian delegation. Corporal Salín Antonio Sanmiguel Valderrama (army) and Major Guillermo Solórzano (police) are expected to be released on 13 February.

As an impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC stands ready to facilitate the release of other people being held by armed groups.

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC (in Spanish), tel: +57 311 491 07 75
Sandra Lefcovich, ICRC (in Portuguese), tel: +55 61 81220119 or +57 310 764 94 03
Pascal Jequier, ICRC Bogotá (in French and English), tel.: +571 313 86 30 or +57 311 491 07 89