General held by Colombian rebels to be released Saturday

Colombian president confirms release of hostages and orders a suspension of military operations in the area.

General held by Colombian rebels to be released Saturday

World Bulletin/News Desk

President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed Wednesday that a general captured by FARC guerrillas earlier this month will be released Saturday.

“Finally, a piece of information that has just been given to me and that many times I have been asked about – when are they going to free the general and the two others? According to this information and protocols this will happen on Saturday,” Santos said during a press conference.

Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate, the highest ranking officer to have been captured and held hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Colombia, or FARC rebels, will be handed over to members of the International Red Cross (ICRC) and representatives from Cuba and Norway, the two guarantor nations participating in the peace dialogues in Havana.

“I have ordered the suspension of all military operations on the Pacific Coast. We trust that Gen. Alzate and his companions will be returned to us on Saturday,” Santos added via his Twitter account.

Gen. Alzatel, Capt. José Rodríguez Contreras and lawyer Gloria Urrego were seized Nov. 16 near the city of Quibdo, under confusing circumstances while dressed in civilian clothing and without a usual security detail. Thier release will facilitate the resumption of the peace dialogues between the government and the FARC that began two years ago.

Negotiations were temporarily suspended by President Santos after Alzate was captured.

FARC released a statement Wednesday that said the government was provided with the geographical coordinates where the ICRC could receive Alzate and the two others hostages. They also called for the suspension of military operations in the area. 

“This is an essential condition so that we can arrive at point X for this liberation,” FARC said in a communiqué. “We have to ensure that there is no opportunity for an ambush or attack which would put the general and his companion’s lives at risk, and those of their guerrilla guards,” it added.

Two soldiers who were kidnapped Nov. 9 were released by FARC on Tuesday to members of the ICRC. 

Since the start of the ongoing peace talks, agreements had been reached on the issues of agrarian reform, political participation and illicit drugs. At the time of the suspension of talks, the dialogues were addressing the issue of victims of the conflict.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2014, 23:14