The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group released its last government hostages this week, but the newly free police officers and soldiers didn't come home alone, reported The Telegraph. The 10 men saw their families for the first time after up to 14 years in captivity and introduced them to their new pets — animals they had tamed while in the jungle.
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"In this situation, there are many things that help someone relax and pass the time, without counting days and counting years," Sgt. José Libardo Forero said Tuesday, as the former hostages publicly discussed details of their captivity for the first time.
Libardo, who had been held by the FARC rebels since 1999, said he took in a peccary — a wild pig-like animal he named Josepo — when it was only two days old, according to CNN. He said he used a syringe to feed it milk. The police sergeant also pointed to a scar on his forehead where Josepo bit him.
"They are aggressive. They are savage. But I trained him and he doesn't bite anymore... I took care of him," Libardo said.
Another former hostage, Wilson Rojas, let his sister, Olga Lucia Rojas, hold his pet kinkajou while speaking with Caracol TV.
"His name is Rango. He adopted it in the jungle. He told us it was his companion. They wouldn't separate for any reason," she told reporters.
Robinson Salcedo Guarin was also seen arriving in Villavicencio, Colombia, on Monday with two bright green parrots on his shoulder after being released by the FARC.
Former president of the Colombian Association of Psychiatry Rodrigo Cordoba said he was struck by how calm the animals seemed in videos of the freed hostages, according to CNN.
"It shows they've formed a relationship... They must have gone through very painful, difficult moments together," said the doctor.
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