Colombia's FARC rebels free 10 longtime hostages
Some detainees were held for more than 14 years by guerilla group
The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that all 10 hostages being held by the Colombian rebel group FARC have been released. Some of the hostages have been held captive by the rebels for as long as 14 years. Held in jungle prison camps, the victims were picked up in a helicopter supplied by Brazil. The former prisoners will be flown to the city of Villavicencio, in central Meta province, before heading to Colombian capital, Bogota.
Families of the hostages frred by FARC have expressed great joy and jubilation after being reunited with their loved ones.
The Leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, released the hostages as part of a humanitarian mission led by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Colombians for Peace, an organization made up mostly of women.
The group has been working behind the scenes for many months to make "this humanitarian handover possible."
The rebels have proposed peace talks and have announced a halt to kidnappings for ransom.
Rigoberta Menchú, a Nobel prize-winning human rights advocate from Guatemala was on hand to show support.
"We know that there are several others that have been released this way. And we know that beyond the releases Colombia should have peace. We feel what Colomboans feel now," Menchú said.
FARC was also holding civilians but added that it was not clear how many were still left in the rebels' hands.
"It could be as little as eighty or ninety, but some estimates are that it could be into the hundreds. Nobody really knows what the status of civilian hostages will be," he said.
"There is a real hope that this hostage handover could open up doors of communication and dialogue between the FARC and the Colombian government, but it is unclear whether the government will want to engage in dialogue with the FARC."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Colombia, FARC, hostages, release, guerilas
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