Post buries the best part of a good story. Colombia Rescues Hostages Held by Guerrilla Group for Years

…”Santos said the rescue, dubbed Operation Jaque and carried out by Colombian military intelligence, began with the infiltration of a FARC squad commanded by guerrilla known as Cesar. The squad has controlled a group of hostages in recent years, he said. Jaque is a Spanish chess term meaning “check.”

In a ruse in which Cesar was told the hostages were to be flown to a meeting with the FARC commander known as Alfonso Cano, the hostages were brought together and put on board one of two helicopters supposedly operated by a humanitarian organization, Santos said. In fact, the organization was fictitious, and the helicopters — painted white — belonged to the Colombian army, he said.

While the hostages were flown to freedom, Cesar and another member of his squad who were to accompany them to the meeting were “neutralized in the helicopter” and will be brought to justice, the defense minister said.

Betancourt said the hostages were excited, curious and somewhat apprehensive when told they were being moved to another location.”

I wondered if they were going to put us as clowns in another circus,” she said on the airport tarmac. “I did not want to lend myself to that.”She said she thought the men who arrived on the helicopters were members of the FARC. She and the other hostages felt angry and humiliated when they were bound hand and foot after being put on board, she said.

After their helicopter took off, “suddenly, something happened,” she said, and she saw the guerrilla commander being held on the floor, stripped and blindfolded.

“The chief of the operation said, ‘We are the national army, and you are all free!'” Betancourt said. “The helicopter almost fell” from the sky. “We started jumping. We screamed. We cried. We couldn’t believe it.”]]>

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