Colombia rebels will not release key hostages: defector

March 11th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, March 11 (Xinhua) Colombia’s largest insurgency group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has no intention of freeing its top hostages, a defector has said. Pablo Montoya killed his immediate superior Ivan Rios Friday for a $2.6 million reward on him, before turning himself over to the authorities, a local radio station reported Monday.

Montoya carried the severed hand of Rios at the time of his surrender to the authorities. He said he also killed Rios’s girlfriend.

Montoya had been a member of the FARC for past 16 years until he killed Rios, the group’s number seven leader.

He said the FARC would hold trials for the three US contractors currently held captive, in the same way the US had tried FARC guerrillas, Omaira Rojas Cabrera, and Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda.

Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who is seriously ill, will not be freed because she is “a very rebellious lady”, he said.

Betancourt, who was kidnapped in 2002, is currently held in southern Colombia’s rainforest, while former senator Oscar Lizcano, who has also been held since 2002, is in the west or northwest of the country, he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed concern about the fate of Betancourt, who has a dual French and Colombian citizenship. Sarkozy even offered to personally bring her back to her family in France, should she be released.

Since January, the FARC has released six people to the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is mediating between the group and the Colombian government for hostage release.

Last week, the FARC turned over the videos and other evidence to show that Betancourt and 10 other hostages are still alive.

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