Victims Outraged with FARC Claim They Don’t Have Hostages
By Dialogo September 10, 2012
Relatives of victims of the armed conflict in Colombia were outraged on September 6, at the claim by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that they no longer have hostages in their possession, and they requested a place at the table of peace negotiations between the guerrillas and the government, which will be established in October in Oslo.
Dozens of relatives of the abductees and missing assembled on September 6 in Bogotá’s Plaza Bolivar to have their position on the start of a peace process between the communist armed organization and the government of Juan Manuel Santos known.
They asked the government for “two famiy members of the kidnapped and two family members of the missing to attend the dialogues as thematic participants” pointed out a statement from the association “The Missing,” read by Colombian journalist Herbin Hoyos.
Maria Elena Gálvez, who is seeking information regarding the whereabouts of her father, kidnapped in 1991, asserted to AFP that someone who suffers these crimes “must be present”.
The families demanded that the investigation of all their cases be the first item on the agenda that the government and the FARC discuss.
They also considered it “unacceptable” that the FARC delegates assured in a news conference in Havana, that a query with all battlefronts concluded that they do not have any captives.
“Then where are all the kidnapped and missing people we were fighting for?” Gálvez asked in amazement.
In the press conference, the guerrilla commanders hinted that abductions committed by other groups were wrongly attributed to them.
The NGO País Libre, which provides help to the families of the hostages, has documented 405 cases of people that would be held by the FARC, but asked the government to disseminate official figures on the kidnapped and missing people, which some organizations say are in the thousands.
The FARC announced they were relinquishing the act of kidnapping civilians for extortive purposes in February, and in April, they released the last 10 police and military captives that they said they had.