BOGOTA – A member of the high command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Friday called on dissident members of that guerrilla group to free a United Nations official they kidnapped two days ago.
In remarks to Caracol Radio, Carlos Antonio Lozada urged those who abducted the official to release him as soon as possible.
Harley Lopez, a Colombian who is employed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and working on an illegal crop substitution program, was kidnapped Wednesday night by FARC dissidents led by Ivan Mordisco.
The abduction occurred in Barranquillita, a remote hamlet two hours by land from Miraflores, a municipality in the southeastern Colombian province of Guaviare.
Lozada, a member of the FARC’s secretariat, said incidents like these placed roadblocks on a path forged with great effort in recent years, referring to the process that led to the signing of a peace agreement between the national government and the FARC last November.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday that a delegation had traveled to the site where the kidnapping occurred to facilitate Lopez’s release.
The UN System in Colombia, for its part, denounced the kidnapping and demanded that the official be released immediately.
The abduction coincided with the arrival of a group of UN Security Council ambassadors who are visiting Colombia this week to demonstrate their support for the peace agreement and for the process that is to lead to the FARC’s full laying aside of its weapons by June 1.