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Colombia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Armchair_QB, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Surprised there wasn't a thread on this. Colombia rescued 15 hostages from the FARC without firing a shot.


    BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- Government agents posing as rebels tricked a gang of armed desperados into handing over 15 hostages during a rendezvous deep in Colombia's unforgiving jungle.

    The Colombian government's bloodless rescue of the hostages Wednesday was the product of a perfectly executed ruse that depended on old-school spy games rather than high-tech gadgetry.

    Agents spent months worming their way into the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, an insurgent force that has waged war on the Colombian state for 40 years, Gen. Freddy Padilla de Leon told CNN.

    The agents gained the rebels' trust and rose to the top of FARC's leadership council as well as a team assigned to guard the hostages.

    When the time was ripe, the moles used the authority they'd gained within the group to order the 15 hostages moved from three separate locations to one central area, and the game was on. Watch how the operation went down »

    "We convinced the FARC that they were talking to those of their own," said Gen. Mario Montoya of the Colombian army. "It was all human intelligence."
    iReport.com: Reader witnesses hostage release in Colombia

    Once the hostages -- including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American contractors -- were gathered, the agents ordered a 90-mile march through the steamy jungle, Montoya said.

    Little did the rebels know that the military was about to pull off a bait-and-switch that would leave them standing in a jungle clearing, not realizing they'd just been hustled out of their most valuable assets. See former hostages, officials exult »

    The agents told their FARC comrades that an "international mission" -- such as the Red Cross or a U.N. delegation -- was coming to visit the hostages, Montoya said.

    At the appointed hour, an unmarked white helicopter set down in the jungle along the trekkers' path. Colombian security forces posing as FARC rebels jumped out, some wearing shirts emblazoned with the likeness of revolutionary icon Che Guevara. Background on FARC »

    The helicopter crew told the 60 or so real rebels that the chopper was going to ferry the hostages to the meeting with the "international mission," Montoya said.

    During their 22 minutes on the jungle floor, the government pilot and co-pilot spoke in code with their colleagues, authorities said, using phrases such as "Generators OK" that carried a secret meaning to the security forces.

    All 15 hostages were handcuffed and placed aboard the helicopter, along with two of their guards, leaving the rest of the FARC detachment on the ground.

    Once the chopper was up and safely away from the landing zone, the fake rebels persuaded the real ones aboard to hand them their weapons. Moments later, both rebels were on the floor of the aircraft, cuffed and blindfolded by their erstwhile comrades, Betancourt said.

    A crew member turned and spoke to the hostages.

    "We are the national military," he said, Betancourt recalled. "You are free."
  2. Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    Colin Hay drew up the plans for the rescue.

    The codename for the operation was "Men at Work".
  3. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    Brilliant job of completing a highly risky, but innovative, plan.

    Tremendous work by all concerned.
  4. KP

    KP Active Member

    Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    Why would Columbia University do this in Colombia? :D
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    What, exactly, is the grand plan behind holding hostages for 5 or 6 years?
  6. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    Because it'll look good on resumes?

    "What did you do after graduating?"

    "Oh, I just rescued 15 hostages out of the Colombian jungle..."
  7. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  8. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Re: Columbia Frees 15 FARC Hostages Without Firing a Shot

    FARC gets a big chunk of its operating budget from ransom money; they also take hostages for political leverage. Not sure which category Íngrid Betancourt fits in (she'd fit in either stratagem), but in either case it didn't work to their advantage. FARC also gets money from a "tax" it levies on drug traffickers in the portion of Colombia it controls. It has also been connected to Latin American gunrunning operations.


    This is just amazing work by the Colombian government, probably even better planned and executed than the Israelis' Entebbe raid 32 years ago.
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