The rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released 10 hostages Thursday, handing 8 to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The group were among 18 captured on July 17.
Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group has released 10 hostages who were kidnapped last week, and handed eight of them over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC said Thursday.
"The civilians were released following a request made by the FARC to the ICRC," the aid agency said in a statement from its Bogota office, adding that the handover took place Wednesday in the rural northwest area of Vigia del Fuerte.
"The operation was the outcome of a strictly confidential dialogue between the parties concerned and the ICRC’s neutral and independent humanitarian action."
The other two hostages freed were handed over to local authorities in Choco department.
The 10 were among a group of 18 captured July 17 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the group thrust into the international spotlight two weeks earlier when Colombian soldiers tricked the FARC into handing over 15 high-profile hostages including French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt.
The group of 18 were travelling by boat through remote jungle rivers about 600 kilometers (375 miles) from Bogota. The other eight people -- five women, two men and a child -- were found by the army on the bank of the Atrato River July 18, a day after the abduction.
The ICRC said it would "continue to support efforts to find means of obtaining the release of other hostages and detainees in the hands of armed groups."
FARC, Latin America's longest-running insurgency, continues to hold an estimated 700 hostages.
But the group faced renewed public pressure to release the remaining hostages this week after four million people took to the streets in Colombia and around the world to highlight the plight of those kidnapped.
Date created : 2008-07-25