The Colombian military has rescued two foreign nationals – along with their pet dogs – after they were abducted three months ago by dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC.)
The two men, from Switzerland and Brazil, were rescued on Thursday after being held in a house by the rebel group in the southwestern town of Corinto, according to a statement published on the military’s website.
In the statement, the military said retired Swiss citizen Daniel Max Guggenheim and Brazilian citizen José Iban Alburqueque García had been “returned to freedom” as a result of the rescue operation.
Guggenheim and Alburqueque García were both kidnapped on March 16 by members of the FARC’s former sixth front, known as the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column, along with their small dogs, Preto and Fifi.
FARC was created in 1964 after the success of the Cuban revolution inspired rebels to attempt to forcibly redistribute wealth across the country.
Following a peace deal in 2016, the organization agreed to lay down arms in a bid to pursue influence via politics, rather than violence. However, a number of dissident factions continue to operate in the country.
Soldiers from Colombia’s Rapid Deployment Force No. 4 found the kidnapped men and their dogs in a house where, the military said, they would have been transferred to after being kidnapped.
The operation involved the Investigative Technical Corps of the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office and Colombian soldiers captured a member of the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column during the rescue, the military said.
Speaking after his rescue, Swiss national Guggenheim, who owns Fifi, a 13-year-old Pomeranian, said: “The kidnappers treated us well. The pets were long overdue for food but they finally bought dry food in the village.”
The dogs, he said, hadn’t suffered like their owners as “they have been able to get out” and “enjoy the wild mountain of this region.”
CNN’s Rachel Clarke contributed to this report.