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Former Colombian FARC commanders ask forgiveness for kidnappings

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BOGOTA, Colombia -- Ex-commanders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, movement have asked forgiveness for the kidnapping of thousands of people during Colombia's decades of conflict that left more than 260,000 dead.

"There were unfortunate incidents, such as the kidnappings of civilians. We ask everyone who was a victim of these actions for forgiveness," said Rodrigo Londono, a former FARC guerrilla commander and current leader of the FARC political party, on Monday.

He made the comments during a hearing before the country's post-conflict tribunal, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

During the conflict, which lasted more than half a century, the fighters kidnapped numerous people. One of the most prominent victims was presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who spent over six years being held by the rebels. According to Colombian prosecutors, more than 500 people lost their lives while being FARC hostages.

The transitional justice system was created to help implement a 2016 peace deal with FARC following 52 years of conflict. The arrangement foresees milder punishments for former guerrillas and soldiers who agree to cooperate with the special tribunal, which got to work in January 2018.


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