Tens of thousands of Colombians have taken to the streets in an outpouring of national anger against FARC rebels. It was in response to the group’s killing of four hostages, all members of the armed forces. They were shot during a raid by government troops on a FARC hide-out last month.
The militants have now offered to release six of the 11 military personnel they are still holding, but the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, says that would only be a start. Addressing a crowd in Bogota he said: “Release them now, without conditions, as a first step…if there is really an intention to reach peace, as a step and a demonstration of their intention to have an agreement to reach peace.”
FARC also holds as many as 300 civilians. The government has had significant success in its military operations against FARC in recent years, including the killing of its leader last month. Tentative political moves are underway to persaude the group to abandon violence.