Bogota (AFP) – Leftist Colombian rebels asked US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Saturday to participate in a humanitarian mission to free a US military veteran they captured in June.
In a statement published on newspaper El Tiempo's website, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) asked Jackson to help expedite the release of Kevin Scott Sutay, who was captured in the central-eastern region of Guaviare when he was there as a tourist.
Jackson inserted himself in the matter two weeks ago during a global forum of black leaders in Colombia, when he called on the guerrillas to free the American.
The release "is a unilateral FARC decision in response to humanitarian considerations. Nothing has been demanded in return for the gesture, meant to contribute to a positive means for Colombian peace," the guerrillas said.
President Juan Manuel Santos rejected the group's request that a leftist former senator who has mediated the release of more than 30 FARC hostages since 2008, participate in the mission.
Former senator Piedad Cordoba publicly announced Saturday she would not be involved with the mission, to be led by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The guerrillas Saturday also requested the participation of Carlos Lozano, leader of the Colombians for Peace movement, headed by the senator.
Peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government opened last November in Cuba, the fourth attempt since the 1980s to end Latin America's longest-running armed conflict.
In early 2012 FARC committed unilaterally to stop kidnapping civilians.