Colombians protest against the FARC rebel group on December 6 in Bogota.

Story highlights

FARC announces it will release six hostages

It has identified three of the six so far

The government asks for all hostages to be freed

CNN  — 

Colombia’s main leftist rebel group says it plans to release six hostages, including three who have been in captivity for more than 12 years.

The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s. While severely weakened in recent years, the guerrilla group has continued to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces.

It said the hostages to be released include three national police officers, Jorge Trujillo Solarte, Jorge Humberto Romero and Jose Libardo Forero. All of three were taken hostage in 1999.

The names of the other three hostages would be forthcoming, the FARC said.

The rebels described the action as a unilateral move.

The Colombian government said it hopes that the FARC announcement is true, and it asked the group to release not just these six but all the hostages they hold.

“Hopefully, these kidnap victims can return to their families after 12 years,” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.

Last month, in the southern region of Caqueta, FARC rebels killed four hostages, President Juan Manuel Santos said. A fifth hostage was found alive.

The military was conducting an operation against the rebel group in the area where the hostages were killed.

Three of the hostages were shot in the head, while the fourth was shot in the back, officials said.

The FARC mentioned the November 26 incident, but blamed the government for the deaths.

“We hope the national government and the military leadership will not repeat what happened,” the statement said.