A failed rescue attempt led to the execution style murders:
Wall Street Journal:
Colombia's main guerrilla group on Saturday killed four hostages it had been holding for more than 10 years, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.
The hostages, all members of Colombia's security forces, were shot at point-blank range during an armed rescue attempt by the military, the defense chief said.
The killings by the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, took place in the southern state of Caqueta, Mr. Pinzon said. Three of the victims were shot in the head, and one in the back, he said at a news conference.
Mr. Pinzon said the bodies of the slain hostages were found Saturday morning, just a few minutes after the firefight ended between the military and the rebels.
He said Colombia's military began pursuing the rebels in the jungles outside the town of Solano, not far from the Ecuador border, after intelligence gathering over the past two months indicated the FARC faction was holding several military hostages.
Mr. Pinzon defended the military's right to launch the armed rescue attempt, despite the risk that the hostages might be executed by the rebels or caught in the crossfire.
FARC routinely takes hostages and then bargains for their release, using the ransom money to purchase weapons and other military assets. In the case of the military hostages, the government won't negotiate which leaves the poor unfortunates in limbo.
If I were a hostage for 10 years, I would hope the military would take that chance. Unfortunately, the raid led to a tragic outcome.