Police captives 'prisoners of war'

2013-01-30 21:16
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos (Picture: AP)

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos (Picture: AP)

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Havana - Colombia's leftist Farc rebels on Wednesday confirmed they are holding two captured police officers, but ignored government charges that it was a violation of human rights.

The policemen were captured on Friday in the south-western province of Valle del Cauca, the first by the Farc since the rebel group freed what they said were their last 10 captive police and soldiers.

A Farc statement said the latest two were "prisoners of war" and reaffirmed a pledge not to resume kidnappings for ransom, a practice it pledged to end a year ago.

In their latest statement, the guerrilla group drew a distinction between the capture of security forces and the kidnappings for ransom, in the past a major source of income for the rebels.

The Farc "has made a commitment in terms of not carrying out any more detentions of an economic character," it said.

"At the same time, we reserve the right to take prisoner members of the security force who have surrendered in combat."

"They are called prisoners of war, and this phenomenon occurs in any conflict in the world," it said.

The policemen's capture came six days after the Farc ended a unilateral two-month-long ceasefire that it had declared at the start of peace talks in Havana with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.

Those talks, the first in a decade after three previous failures, resume on Thursday after a weeklong recess.

Colombia's Vice President Angelino Garzon warned on Sunday, after the policemen were taken prisoner, that a resumption of hostage-takings by the Farc could undermine the peace talks.

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Read more on:    farc  |  juan manuel santos  |  colombia  |  abductions

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