Rebels desert along with two hostages in Colombia

January 14th, 2009 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Jan 14 (DPA) Two Colombian rebels have turned themselves in to the police along with two hostages they were guarding, in apparent response to government offers of rewards for turning themselves in, the authorities said.Two members of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) identified with the aliases “Ernesto” and “David” Tuesday fled a camp between the villages of Cubarral and Vistahermosa, in the central Colombian province of Meta.

The deserters took with them a 14-year-old who was being held since Dec 27 for ransom of $2.2 million and and a 31-year-old kidnapped over Christmas and being held for $450,800.

Over the past month, five rebels have deserted FARC and helped free hostages.

Last week, a rebel known as “Myriam” helped a businessman who had been held for months return to safety.

The best-known case of recent months was that of Wilson Bueno, alias “Isaza”, who deserted and helped former legislator Oscar Tulio Lizcano escape from FARC in late October.

The government gave “Isaza” a reward, and allowed him to fly to France. He now lives in the European country with his partner, who also deserted from FARC.

The rebel group is believed to hold some 700 hostages, most of them for ransom. There is a smaller group of around 30 military and police officers that the rebels hope to exchange for about 500 members of FARC who are currently held in prison.

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