‘‘Unless they come clean, and the facts are indeed mentioned,’‘ it won’t be possible to ‘‘build a path for peace,’‘ the official told the press after a military ceremony in Bogotá.
Mantilla demanded that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ‘‘explain to Colombia where the missing kidnapped people are, within whom there are several military members,’‘ as well as ‘‘the minors that have been recruited.’‘
According to the official, at least 60 members from the public forces are missing.
‘‘Many of them went missing in areas controlled by guerrillas about 14 and 15 years ago. We are pretty sure that they are being held against their will by the FARC, and we are expecting to get news so that we can inform their families,’‘ he noted.
Since guerrilla leaders have insisted that they don’t have any hostages, the commander of the Colombian Army stated that due to such statements, it is ‘‘difficult to trust, difficult to believe them.’‘
Mantilla also remembered other statements made by guerrilla leaders in recent days; for instance, that the FARC did not participate in drug trafficking.
Likewise, the official also made a reference to their ‘‘indiscriminate use of explosive devices that affect indigenous populations, as well as other inhabitants,’‘ highlighting that ‘‘the country is awaiting those responses.’‘
Earlier this month, President Juan Manuel Santos and top FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, aka ‘‘Timochenko,’‘ announced they would start peace negotiations after several months of rapprochement.
The talks are said to start officially on October 8 in Oslo, and later they will be held in Havana.
In February, the FARC announced they would stop extortive kidnappings against civilians, and that they would release the last ten police and military members they acknowledged to have been holding as hostages.