European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner expressed on Monday her grief and consternation by the death of eleven Colombian deputies kidnapped by the FARC and extends her solidarity to the family of the deceased.
"I would like to express my genuine concern and to transmit my condolences to the Government and Parliament of Colombia," Ferrero- Waldner said after learning the death.
The commissioner denounced the actions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and requested that all possible measures be taken to preserve the life of those being held hostage.
"I wish to also express my condemnation of those who deprived these citizens of their freedom and are responsible for their deaths. All prisoners held by the illegal armed groups must be released," she added.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on Thursday 28 June the death of eleven kidnapped deputies of the department Valle del Cauca "during a crossfire," whilst the Colombian military denied that this was due to a rescue operation.
In an official note published in the electronic edition of the news agency Nueva Colombia (ANNCOL), the Colombian guerrilla group, which had held the deputies hostage since 2002, informed that the politicians died on June 18 "during a crossfire when an as yet unidentified military group attacked the camp where they were being held."
It is estimated that the number of persons currently being held hostage in Colombia is 833, of which more than 200 could be in the hands of the FARC. Among the hostages captured by this guerrilla group are also several prominent politicians.