The remains of Colombian Police Col. Julian Ernesto Guevara, who died in captivity as a hostage of Colombian rebels, were returned to his family Thursday.
The handover of Guevara's body was the third and final outcome of a deal between the FARC rebels and a humanitarian group led by Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba. Earlier this week, the FARC released two hostages, including one who had been captive for more than 12 years.
Guevera also had been captured 12 years ago after rebels stormed a police station, but died in captivity in 2006, at the age of 41. He was a major at the time of his capture, but was promoted to colonel during his captivity.
"The FARC handed over the remains after a ceremony of military honors where they declared (Col.) Guevara a hero of the fatherland," Cordoba said
after the mission. The honor was given by the rebels because Guevara was captured and died in the war between the government and the guerrillas. The remains arrived in a brown casket at an airport in the city of Villavicencio, where the family received them.
"This is a very painful moment, but also an extremely important one for the family, especially for the late police major's mother, Emperatriz de Guevara," Christophe Beney, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Colombia said in a statement.
"To be able to give a loved one a decent burial is a great help and a comfort," he added, "This brings closure and allows the bereaved to accept the loss of the loved one."
After a small religious ceremony by the family, Guevara's remains were transported to Bogota, the capital, where a forensic team will carry out DNA tests to confirm the identity of the police official.