Home International Over 5,000 rally against kidnappings in Colombia

Over 5,000 rally against kidnappings in Colombia


Bogota : More than 5,000 people, led by former congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo, held a rally in Neiva, capital of southern Huila province, to protest the kidnappings by country’s largest Left radical insurgency groups, EFE news agency reported Thursday.

Consuelo Gonzalez was one of the two hostages released by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FAEC) after more than six years in captivity, as a humanitarian gesture Jan 10, following appeals from the international community.

Along with her, former vice-presidential candidate Clara Rojas was also freed.

The procession lasted for about two hours, followed by a congregation in the city’s Catholic Church. Interior and Justice Minister Carlos Holguin Sardi attended the programme on behalf of the government.

Gonzalez, who was captured by the FARC rebels on Sep 10, 2001, was handed over to a Venezuelan-led International Red Cross delegation along with former vice-presidential candidate Clara Rojas, who had been a captive since February 2002.

Gonzalez said she would continue to protest until all prisoners are freed by the FARC. Around 40 high-profile hostages are held by the FARC, which wants to exchange them with hundreds of jailed rebels.

Among the hostages are politicians, soldiers, police officers and three US military contractors.

Former presidential hopeful Ingrid Betancourt and senator Jorge Eduardo Gechem, who are still in the rebels’ captivity, are reported to be in declining health. Betancourt has a dual French and Colombian citizenship.

Earlier, the Red Cross had given a proposal for sending doctors to find out the health condition of FARC captives, but the proposal was rejected by the rebels saying it was too risky in the light of Uribe’s insistence of carrying out armed operations to free the hostages.