Bogota: Colombia's government announced Sunday it is pardoning 30 jailed members of the FARC in what it called a confidence-building measure as it pursues peace talks with the leftist guerrilla group.
But as the pardons were being announced, a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia spokesmen in Havana said that rebel inmates were on hunger strike at 20 prisons over alleged mistreatment, a lack of health care and other grievances.
Ricardo Tellez, a FARC negotiator, said the hunger strike "that the government wants to silence" has been underway for 13 days.
He made no mention of the pardons, and it was unclear whether he was aware of the announcement in Bogota by the office of President Juan Manuel Santos.
"As part of the confidence-building gestures between the national government and the FARC, the national government has decided, based on its consitutional and legal authorities, to grant pardons ... to 30 guerrillas," the presidential statement said.