Bogotá/Geneva. - Three members of the Colombian army held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) since 16 November have today been released. The general, corporal and lawyer were handed over to representatives of the Cuban and Norwegian governments and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The handover took place in a rural area of Chocó department, in western Colombia.
"The reason we were able to carry out this operation was because the parties trust the ICRC and respect its humanitarian work," said Christoph Harnisch, who heads the ICRC delegation in Colombia. "We remain willing to act as a neutral intermediary in such operations."
An ICRC doctor who participated in the operation examined those released and confirmed that they were fit to travel. They were then transferred in a helicopter bearing the ICRC emblem to Medellín, the capital of Antioquia department in the north-west of the country, where they were met by representatives of the Colombian army.
"We hope that the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP will resume soon," said Mr Harnisch. "We continue to support this process, with a view to alleviating the suffering of all the victims of this long conflict."
The ICRC facilitated the release of 25 people held by armed groups in 2013 and 36 in 2012. Since 1994, more than 1,500 captives have been released in Colombia thanks to the ICRC’s efforts as a neutral intermediary.