After 12 years as a hostage, Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo was released by FARC rebels in Colombia today. Could this be the next step in releasing all remaining FARC hostages in Colombia?
William Fernando Martinez/AP
One of Colombia’s longest-held hostages was freed Tuesday in the latest unilateral release by Colombia's FARC rebels, possibly paving the way for a long-awaited accord to free all its remaining hostages in exchange for jailed leftist rebels.
Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo spent 12 years in the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who captured him and 17 others when they overran the Patascoy military communications center where he was stationed.
Moncayo was handed over to a commission of the International Committee of the Red Cross, a Catholic Church representative, and opposition Sen. Piedad Cordoba, who has been a key player in a number of unilateral releases in the past two years. But the return of the helicopters to the airport in the southern city of Florencia was delayed by bad weather.
Images of Moncayo inexplicably wearing a new Army uniform, a short time before the humanitarian mission arrived for him, were broadcast on Venezuela’s Telesur news channel. In the video footage, Moncayo looks at his watch and says to the camera that only a few hours remain until he sees his family “after so many years”. Other images show Moncayo smiling with Ms. Cordoba.