The Incredible Rescue of the FARC Hostages

Security by on July 3, 2008 at 8:09 am

Some of the details surrounding the rescue of the FARC Hostages are beginning to come out. News outlets convey slightly different stories, but the general theme is consistent: Colombian intelligence agents tricked the FARC into giving them the hostages (and two leadership personnel).

These two articles are great reads: How the Colombian military tricked Farc and rescued Ingrid Betancourt without a shot(TimesOnline) How Operation Check Mate Worked (WSJ).

A snippet from the Journal article:

Colombia’s army, having infiltrated the FARC’s highest ranks over the past few years, sent coded messages to various guerrilla commanders in recent months that the commanders believed were from the FARC’s highest ruling body, the secretariat.

The messages told them that the hostages were to be transferred to an area where Alfonso Cano, the new FARC leader after the death in March of the FARC’s founder Manuel Marulanda, would be in charge of them. The commanders were told the hostages would be used by Mr. Cano in on-again, off-again negotiations with the government.

Since the guerrilla group doesn’t have helicopters of their own, the hostages were to be transferred to Mr. Cano on helicopters used by a sympathetic non-governmental organization. The organization, in fact, didn’t exist and was really the Colombian military. To avoid arousing suspicion of the local FARC commanders that held the hostages, the military told them that two FARC commanders would accompany the hostages during the transfer.
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