Left wing FARC rebels in Columbia have released four hostages they have held in the jungle since 2007.
With joy evident on their faces, the three police officers and a soldier leapt down from a helicopter to greet their families, some of whom were waving flowers to welcome them home. They had been collected earlier from an agreed rendez-vous point in the jungle and flown to the town of Villavicencio, east of Bogota. “You don’t have to wait for me any longer, I am here now.” said one of the men, Walter Lozano,” we have to fight for all those who are still in the jungle, they must be set free.” The four hostages are the first to be unilaterally released by the FARC in more than a year. Their handover is part of a deal that is also expected to lead to the liberation of two high-profile local politicians by the end of this week. The latest releases have fuelled speculation that the weakened FARC will free more captives to gain political leverage after a series of recent setbacks to their campaign.