Colombia offers cash reward for FARC hostage release

March 29th, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, March 29 (Xinhua) Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said he would pay cash to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for release of hundreds of hostages from its captivity. He said he would pay the amount from a fund of $100 million for the release of hostages, including former politician Ingrid Betancourt, many of whom were held by the group for several years.

Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate, was kidnapped by FARC in 2002. The ransom offer came after Uribe signed a decree Thursday to free the imprisoned guerrillas in exchange for FARC-held hostages.

“I call on the FARC to release them … You will receive rewards: we are going to resolve the juridical problems of the imprisoned rebels and we guarantee their release,” Uribe said Friday.

Uribe was accused of jeopardising Betancourt’s release after he ordered the March 1 attack on a FARC camp inside the Ecuadorian territory killing at least 25 people.

Colombian politician Clara Rojas, released recently by FARC after being held for six years, Friday urged the group to free Betancourt.

“I ask FARC with my soul and my heart to do everything possible to inform Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of Betancourt’s location so that the Red Cross will help release her,” said Rojas, former vice presidential candidate and Betancourt’s running mate.

Residents in the southeastern Guaviare province said that some priests have seen Betancourt who is reportedly very ill. Meanwhile, family members of Betancourt have appealed to the president to help release Betancourt.

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