FARC says captured Colombian general is ‘prisoner of war’

World Today

Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, objected to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspension of peace talks yesterday after FARC took an army general captive. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story from Colombia.

FARC says captured Colombian general is \'prisoner of war\'

The Colombian rebel group known as FARC reacted this morning to the Colombian President’s decision to suspend peace talks to end 50 years of armed conflict. The measure was taken after the kidnapping of an army general. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story.

FARC leaders said that they do have General Ruben Dario Alzate, but denied it was a kidnapping, calling the general a “prisoner of war”. The rebel group said they respect the lives of the general as well the lawyer and soldier that were captured while traveling with him.

“It’s the first time a general of the republic and army is captured by the insurgency and this causes an incident,” said FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo. “This peace delegation is willing to contribute to a swift and sensible solution to this problem and the talks should continue.”

This was the highest ranking officer ever detained by the rebel group. There were no mentions of when or if he will be released.

Earlier in the day, the rebel group said it was surprised with the government’s decision to suspend peace talks that are aimed at ending 50 years of armed conflict.

“The peace process, and its advances that have brought hope for reconciliation, cannot be broken by impulsive decisions,” said FARC spokesperson Pastor Alape.

The FARC called on the government to reflect on the decision not to have a bilateral cease-fire during negotiations, warning that situations such as these will continue and could impede the peace process.

Political analyst Javier Loaiza characterized the FARC response as rhetoric.

“They are sitting there talking about their business. Their business is the war, death, fear, and how to sell that fear to society. So they are not in any hurry,” Loaiza said.

Officials are still investigating the reasons why the general was dressed in civilian clothing in an area of high rebel activity at the moment of his capture.