Skip to main content

Colombian rebels release soldier

By CNN Staff
updated 7:12 AM EST, Sun February 17, 2013
One of five Geo Explorer employees released by Colombia's ELN rebels earlier in the week.
One of five Geo Explorer employees released by Colombia's ELN rebels earlier in the week.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Soldier was captured by the FARC late last month
  • He is at least the eighth person freed this week
  • FARC rebels, the government are in peace talks

(CNN) -- The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the FARC, released a soldier hostage on Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported.

The soldier, identified as Josue Alvarez, was captured on January 30 in Narino, a department in southwest Colombia. He was released in that same department to a humanitarian team.

"We hope Mr. Alvarez will soon be reunited with his family," Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia, said in a statement. "We are delighted that the operation went smoothly."

ICRC said it has facilitated the release of eight people this week, including Alvarez, two police officers, also held by the FARC, and five civilians, held by a second rebel group, known as the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

The five civilians who were captured January 18 work for a mining company.

The police officers were taken in Valle del Cauca, another department in southwest Colombia, and had been held since January 25.

Their releases come amid peace talks between the government and the FARC. The two sides have been at war since the 1960s.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said he wants talks wrapped up by November.

There have been sporadic attempts at peace in the past.

The last effort fell apart in 2002. Then-President Andres Pastrana ceded an area the size of Switzerland to the guerrilla group, but he ended negotiations after rebels launched a series of attacks across the country in an apparent bid to strengthen their position.

CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:09 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Her friends were raped and her brother was killed by ISIS, but 15-year-old "Aria" managed to escape.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
From Gadhafi to Ahmadinejad, Bush to Chavez: look back at memorable moments from past UNGA sessions. Richard Roth reports.
updated 3:41 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Just days after NASA's Mars orbiter reached the Red Planet, India's first mission could follow suit and make history.
updated 4:14 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Khorasan, al Qaeda's new branch, seeks new ways to attack America and Europe.
Alibaba officially became the biggest initial public offering of all time, confirming that in the final tally it raised $25 billion.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
updated 5:36 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Cape Town native, Janine Davies is South Africa's first female rider to compete on a national level.
In the largely male-dominated world of the motorsport, South African super bike racer Janine Davies is an anomaly.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The Lilongwe Wildlife Center houses over 200 animal victims and helps rehabilitate them back into the wild.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT