Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia kidnap: Farc agrees conditions for release

A Colombian soldier stands guard in the banks of the Atrato river in Las Mercedes, rural area of Quibdo, Department of Choco, Colombia, on November 19, 2014, where Colombian General Ruben Alzate was kidnapped Image copyright AFP
Image caption The soldiers were captured by Farc rebels in a remote jungle region at the weekend

Colombia's Farc rebels have reached an agreement with the government over the conditions necessary for releasing an army general and four others.

Announcing the agreement in Havana, Cuban and Norwegian officials acting as mediators said the hostages would be released as soon as possible.

However, the details of the agreement were not released.

Peace talks between the two sides were suspended after the men were captured by the left-wing rebels at the weekend.

Ruben Dario Alzate is the first Colombian general to be abducted in 50 years of conflict.

The rebels said they seized the men because they were unhappy at the continuation of Colombian military activities during peace talks.

Farc negotiator Pablo Catatumbo had earlier called for a bilateral ceasefire.

President Juan Manuel Santos had demanded the men's release before peace talks could resume.

Talks in doubt

Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez and Norwegian official Rita Sandberg confirmed the agreement in Havana on Thursday.

However, they gave no further indication of when the conditions would be met or what they were.

An estimated 220,000 people have died in five decades of armed conflict in Colombia.

Brig Gen Alzate was travelling along the Atrato river in the northern province of Choco by boat when he was captured along with two companions.

Two more soldiers were captured by Farc in Arauca a week earlier.

The capture of the soldiers has cast doubt over peace talks between Farc and the government that have lasted for two years.

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