BOGOTA -- Peace talks with the nation’s largest guerrilla group were put on edge Wednesday after the rebels defended the recent kidnapping of two policemen saying they were legitimate “prisoners of war.”
On his way to Havana to resume talks, the government’s chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle blasted the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and said the administration would not accept “peace at any cost.”
On Friday, the guerrillas seized two policemen who had been sent to the southern Valle de Cauca province to investigate a wave of extortions. The kidnapping took the nation by surprise: In the run-up to peace talks, the guerrillas had said they would quit taking hostages for economic gain and released dozens of military and police officials, including some who had been in captivity for more than 12 years.
“We reserve the right to take prisoner security force members who are captured in combat,” the group wrote. “They are called prisoners of war and it’s a phenomenon that occurs wherever there is conflict in the world.”