BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian rebels on Tuesday announced plans to release six hostages who have been held captive for more than a decade.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a statement published on a rebel website that the six will be released as soon as details are worked out.
The FARC said three of those to be freed include police officers Jorge Trujillo, Jorge Romero and Jose Libardo Forero, who were kidnapped in southern Colombia on July 11, 1999.
The rebels said in the statement that they will soon announce the identities of the other hostages to be freed.
The hostages are to be turned over to former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba and a group of other woman who have sought to promote peace initiatives.
Trujillo’s mother, Oliva Solarte, celebrated the news. “I’ll have fish for him, which is his favorite food,” she said. She also recalled that Trujillo’s grandfather died three years ago and had been depressed waiting for his grandson to be freed.
A dozen hostages, including eight police officers and four soldiers, have been held by the FARC for more than a decade.
The leftist rebel group has been fighting Colombia’s government since 1964 and is estimated to have between 8,000 and 9,000 fighters.
FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez earlier this month repeated a proposal to free jailed guerrillas in exchange for rebel-held hostages. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected any such exchange and has called on the rebels to free all their hostages unilaterally as a step toward possible dialogue.
The government said last month that FARC rebels executed four hostages, including three police officers and one soldier, during combat between guerrillas and troops. The rebels said the four died in a failed rescue attempt by the army.
A fifth captive saved himself by fleeing into the jungle.
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