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


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