Colombia Readies Airports for Release of Hostages

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A Colombian mediator gives the latest details on the release of 5 hostages planned for later this week. The military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, FARC, is planning the release.

Colombia identified on Monday the three airports where a humanitarian mission hopes to land later this week, carrying five hostages FARC guerrillas have agreed to release. FARC is the acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army.

The FARC rebels announced last Friday they plan to free three military officials and two politicians in three different jungle areas.

Former senator Piedad Cordoba, who has been dismissed and banned from public office for collaborating with the FARC fighters, is the chief mediator for the operation.

[...]

The rebel organization still holds about 18 members of security forces and Cordoba said she was hopeful that this operation would lead to more releases.

The agreed deal says Brazil will supply two helicopters with crews, a few hours before the releases. FARC has released video footage of the captives at an unknown jungle location.

One of the hostages set to be freed is Police Major Guillermo Solorzano, who was captured in 2003. Another is Army Corporal, Salin SanMiguel.

Speaking in Bogota, government representative Adriana Vargas made an appeal for the release of all hostages still held by the FARC.

[Adriana Vargas, Presidential Spokesperson]:
"The Colombian government considers that it's giving all the necessary guarantees to release the five Colombians as soon as possible, and at the same time reiterates the call to the FARC that they immediately release all the hostages they have in captivity."

The Red Cross will also be assisting in the handover, the logistics of which are still being worked out.

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