Colombian Vice President Demands Return of Kidnapped Police Officers

By Dialogo
January 29, 2013

Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón, demanded that the communist guerrillas FARC immediately release and return the two police officers that were kidnapped on January 25, in Valle del Cauca district (southwest), an official statement said on January 27.

“The practice of kidnapping cannot continue, especially considering that representatives of the FARC guerrilla group are holding peace talks,” the official said, insisting that the insurgents respect the lives of the kidnapped officers.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest and oldest insurgency, with 8,000 armed members, is carrying out peace talks with Juan Manuel Santos’s government in Havana, Cuba, since November 19.

The two officers were kidnapped on January 25, six days after the end of the unilateral truce started by the guerrillas on December 20, as proof of their “goodwill” during the peace talks.

The vice president advised that FARC’s kidnappings and criminal actions had to be rejected, because they would not “admit or accept persecutions and attacks perpetrated on the population – whom the kidnapped police officers belong to – in the name of the people.”

Garzón is temporarily standing in place of President Juan Manuel Santos, who is participating in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union (CELAC-EU) summit in Santiago, Chile.

On January 26, Colonel Nelson Ramírez, chief of Police in Valle del Cauca, confirmed that the FARC’s Mobile Column Gabriel Galvis and the sixth front, kidnapped two police officers as they carried out investigations in the municipalities of Pradera and Palmira.

In February 2012, the FARC had renounced the kidnappings of civilians, and they released the last ten police and Military officers they had captured, all of whom were part of a group of up to 60 hostages that had been held due to political reasons since the 1990s.