Colombia’s Farc rebels release hostages

April 3, 2012

BBC News

Colombia’s leftist Farc rebels have released their last 10 police and military hostages.

The captives were collected from the jungle by a Brazilian military helicopter and flown to safety.

They were welcomed by their relatives at the city of Villavicencio and given medical checks before being flown on to the capital, Bogota.

President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the releases but said the gesture by the Farc was “not enough”.

Television pictures showed the former hostages waving and punching the air as they got off the helicopter at Villavicencio.

All had been held for more than a decade after being captured in combat by the insurgent group.

“Welcome to liberty, soldiers and policemen of Colombia,” Mr Santos said at the presidential palace.

“Freedom has been very delayed but now it is yours, to the delight of the whole country.”

But he said the releases and the Farc’s promise to stop kidnapping for ransom were “not enough” and that the hundreds of civilians still being believed to be held must also be freed.

“The country and the world demand the release of all the hostages,” he said, adding that his government would continue its policy of confronting armed groups.

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