HAVANA (AP) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he's agreed to mediate in the case of a former U.S. soldier held captive by Colombia's largest guerrilla group since June, calling the American's release "imminent."
The civil rights activist, who's in Cuba, announced his intervention in the case of Kevin Scott Sutay after meeting late into the previous night with leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
FARC and Colombian government negotiators have been holding peace talks in Havana since November 2012.
Jackson, who plans to travel to Colombia next week, says "We have made contact with the (U.S.) State Department urging them to contact the next of kin of Kevin Scott and let them know his release is imminent."
But Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says on Twitter that "only the Red Cross will be authorized to facilitate the handover of the North American kidnapped by the FARC. We will not allow a media spectacle."
Sutay is a former Army combat engineer and private who served in Afghanistan. He was detained by the rebels in June while walking through the jungle southeast of the Colombian capital, Bogota. FARC says he was wearing military fatigues and carrying surveillance equipment.