First accounts on the rescue operation, now being provided by Colombian military officials, while still veiled on some key points, suggest that Colombia carried out a spectacularly successful sting operation in which Colombian commandos pretended to be FARC officials come to take the hostages to a new location for a possible diplomatic negotiated exchange.
According to Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos in his Bogota news conference, Colombia infiltrated FARC's 1st Squad and Secretariat. How that infitration contributed to the commando operation was not specified, beyond apparently providing the geographic location of the hostages. Whatever the mechanism -- government agents run inside FARC? -- Colombian intelligence tricked the FARC into believing that the hostages, who had been divided in three groups by the FARC, should be brought together in a single group to be handed over to FARC leader Alfonso Cano for a possible diplomatic, negotiated solution to the hostage crisis that would achieve FARC political objectives. As a result, FARC's high command agreed to travel with the hostages as a means of transferring them to Cano on a helicopter that actually belonged to the Colombian military and was actually manned by Colombian intelligence personnel.
According to Minister Santos, not only were all of the hostages safely rescued, but two senior FARC officials and some 15 other FARC soldiers were arrested in the process, also without violence.