Colombian rebels accused of detaining more

April 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM
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BOGOTA, April 12 (UPI) -- Despite claims all political hostages would be released, a prevalent Colombian rebel group is accused of keeping prisoners, officials say.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, announced in February it would release any hostages and halt the practice of kidnapping. However, a former FARC hostage as well as two Colombian generals have accused the group of holding onto hostages.

Gen. Alejandro Navas told El Tiempo newspaper the FARC still holds 128 soldiers hostage.

"They have been deprived of their liberty in combat, some are dead," Navas said. "We ask the FARC to tell us their fate."

Gen. Sergio Mantilla, in an interview with El Espectador newspaper last week, said: "There are around 50 soldiers who have disappeared over the last 15 years. People who have disappeared in difficult zones in combat with the guerrillas.

"All we know is the FARC took them," he added.

A recently released FARC hostage, Sgt. Luis Alfredo Moreno, said in a military news release, "I want to say to all of Colombia that there are still hostages out in the jungle and we cannot forget about them."

The recent release of 10 security force hostages last week gives little indication to how many still remain in FARC custody, said Colombia Reports. Some have been in custody for as long as 14 years.

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