Sergeant Luis Alberto Erazo Mayo, the sole survivor of the recent massacre of four hostages by a Colombian rebel group, said he prayed for his kidnappers during his captivity.
“God exists,” Erazo told reporters, adding that the only hope that sustained him during his ordeal was prayer. Among the few items he brought home in the backpack he made in the jungle was a daily missal.
“I prayed even for the rebels,” he said.
Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reported that Erazo had been kidnapped for more than eleven years by the rebel group FARC, who injured him as he escaped on Nov. 26 during an attempted military rescue.
“I heard a lot of shots about 15 meters away and then I was hit in the face and neck. Then I knew they were firing at me. I looked back and realized that the guard was going the other way and the field was clear for me to escape. So I took off running towards the jungle and I saw the guy who was following me chasing after me until I lost him,” Erazo said.
“The rebels told me that if there was any combat that we should run alongside of them because they were going to hand us over,” he added. “I forgot that and I ran towards the jungle. My companions went towards them however, and that is when they killed them at point blank.”
Despite his wounds, Erazo kept running as fast as he could and eventually hid in a tree trunk where he stayed for almost eight hours—until he was convinced that the voices he heard were those of Colombian soldiers.
“In a large field I saw some men in uniforms riding motorbikes. When I saw one guy with a helmet and night-vision goggles, I knew they were soldiers and I walked out. They hugged me and wouldn’t let go, they welcomed me back,” Erazo said in tears.
Erazo has been able to see his two daughters in his hometown of Narino and learned that he is now a grandfather. His mother told him the parrot and geese he left behind are still alive and are waiting for him.