It was November 1st, 1998, at 5:00am when more than 2,000 FARC guerrillas attacked Mitú, in Colombia’s southeastern Vaupés department. In total there were seven fronts and three companies, armed with powerful weaponry. They surrounded and fought not against Colombian soldiers but police officers. General Luis Mendieta joined the combat and, after several days of combat, was taken as hostage along with other 60 police officers.
“Martín Sombra” was the man in charge of keeping the prisoners captive during the hostage negotiations with President Pastrana. These negotiations were carried out between 1998 and 2002 in what was Colombia’s first attempt to arrive at a peace agreement with the FARC. After almost 12 years, in 2010, General Mendieta was finally rescued in a military operation.
Mendieta, now free and a declared candidate for Colombia’s presidency in 2018, is condemning the liberation of Martín Sombra, also known as “the FARC jailer”, after he was submitted this week to the JEP (Special Jurisdiction for Peace). Mendieta has publicly stated that Sombra is an inhumane war criminal who kept him and other officials in cages, where they were tormented and tortured.
These, according to Mendieta, are the kinds of FARC criminals that will be released, in accordance with Colombia’s recent treaty with the FARC.
Mendieta criticized the Special Jurisdiction for Peace as inappropriate for the FARC, as well as slow and inefficient. Ultimately, he claimed that this peace treaty gives all kinds of immediate benefits to the guerrilla members, while Colombia’s armed forces and police are being irrationally obstructed.