FARC to free Colombian general on Sunday

Rebel group says the process of releasing captured Ruben Dario Alzate and two other servicemen is under way.

    FARC to free Colombian general on Sunday
    With an estimated 8,000 fighters, the FARC is the largest rebel group active in the conflict [AFP]

    Colombia's main rebel group has said it has begun the process of freeing army General Ruben Dario Alzate, who was captured two weeks ago.

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said in a communique issued on Saturday that it would release Alzate together with Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and army adviser Gloria Urrego on Sunday.

    The captives will be handed over to representatives of Cuba, Norway and the Red Cross, which are backing the country's peace talks.

    The move should revive peace talks between the rebels and Colombia's government that are being held in Cuba.

    Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia's president, had suspended two-year-old talks after the three were seized in western Colombia on November 16. They were travelling to visit a civilian energy project in the remote western region.

    Alzate, 55, was the first general to be taken by the rebel group in a half-century of fighting.

    On Thursday, the FARC objected at the use of the word "kidnapping" to describe the general's capture.

    It considers its captives "prisoners of war" taken in the absence of a ceasefire.

    Fidel Rondon, FARC commander and peace negotiator, told the AFP news agency on Thursday in Havana that the group was guaranteeing the release of the three and objected to the fact that the government was not freeing captured rebels in return.

    "Jailed guerrillas rot in prison with war wounds sustained during their capture," said Rondon.

    With an estimated 8,000 fighters, the FARC is the largest rebel group active in the conflict.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.