FARC rebels free soldier held for 12 years

On Tuesday, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released a Colombian soldier after he was held captive for more than 12 years. The 32-year-old Sergeant Pablo Emilio Moncayo was handed over to a Red Cross humanitarian team and a Colombian senator in the southern jungles of Colombia on Tuesday and flown to the city ofFlorencia.

Moncayo is one of the longest-held hostages of the FARC. He was 19 when the FARC ambushed his communications camp and took him hostage during the December 21 raid in 1997. Moncayo was said to be in good condition when released.

It needs to be added that the FARC previously released Corporal Josue Daniel Calvo on Sunday, after almost a year of captivity. The 23-year-old soldier was handed over to International Red Cross workers in the southern jungle. He was later flown to Bogota.

According to sources, the FARC promised to free both the soldiers last year, but the release was delayed by disagreements between rebels and President Alvaro Uribe.

The FARC is designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States – who back Uribe’s offensive against the FARC – and Colombian authorities. According to Colombian governmental sources, the guerrilla still holds 23 police and soldiers for political leverage as part of its four-decade-old war on the state.