Friday, February 06, 2009

Colombia: Red Cross confirms release of former lawmaker after 7 years captivity

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed Thursday it received from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Colombian former lawmaker Sigifredo Lopez, who has been held captive for nearly seven years.

The delivery was made at a rural place in the southwestern state of Cauca, said the ICRC spokesman in Colombia Yves Heller, reading a statement in the airport of southwest city of Cali.

Heller thanked the parties that participated in Lopez's humanitarian release.

Lopez arrived at Cali airport, where he was welcomed by his wife Patricia Nieto, his two children and friends. He did not make any declaration to the press.

The efforts to secure the release of Lopez were aided by Brazil which offered two helicopters.

According to Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba, the bad weather in the region impeded the helicopters to take off earlier.

Cordoba, mediator in the release of six hostages since Sunday, said the meeting with FARC was difficult because the place where Lopez would be released was not accessible for the helicopter.

"We had to jump out of the helicopter to make contact with the guerilla, and we stayed there for one hour and a half. We also had to climb up back to the helicopter since it was in the air," Cordoba said.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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