When leftist rebels in Colombia earlier this month freed a former governor held captive more than two years, President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the release as a possible sign the National Liberation Army had sworn off kidnapping as peace talks with the group were getting under way.

A more perverse truth has emerged: Far from a peace gesture, Patrocinio Sanchez Montes de Oca says his captors agreed to his release only on condition that his brother replace him in captivity.

Speaking to The Associated Press from a hospital where he's recovering, Montes de Oca credits his brother with saving his life after he lost 25 kilograms (55 pounds). His only regret is that during the handover three weeks ago his captors didn't give him more time to express his gratitude.