Captive parliamentarian taught imaginary students to stay sane

Former Colombian parliamentarian Oscar Tulio Lizcano, who escaped from left-wing rebels, said Monday that he taught imaginary university students in order to stay sane during his eight-year captivity, dpa reported.

His captors, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), would not speak to him, he said. So, "I buried sticks, gave them names like Juan, Pedro and Carlos and I started to teach a class for them," Lizcano told Colombian media.

"That was a way to keep myself busy. Besides, I wrote poetry and I read a few books."

Lizcano said since the rank-and-file rebels were not allowed to communicate to him, he thought he would lose his mind. But, when he taught his imaginary students about South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, the rebels "got closer to listen."

Lizcano, 62, managed to flee from FARC with the help of his guard, Colombia's top defence official said Sunday.

Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Lizcano and a FARC member with the alias of Isaza fled three days ago in the jungles of western Colombia and encountered a military unit, which brought them to safety.

In his first comments to the press from his hospital bed, Lizcano said that he favoured the exchange of hostages for rebels held in prison.

"Rescue by force is crazy - there is not the slightest doubt. It would be an immense mistake. They warned me that they would not hand me over alive," he said.

It is believed that FARC, which has been fighting a guerrilla war against the Colombian government for nearly 45 years, has more than 700 hostages, 28 of who are said to be "politically relevant."

The rebels intend to exchange this smaller group of politicians, police and military officers - some have been held for more than 10 years - for an estimated 500 imprisoned rebels. But they haven't yet reached any agreement with the Colombian government. Hundreds of other victims are being held for ransom.

Providing a detailed account of his escape, Lizcano said he panicked at various intervals during those three days, well aware that the rebels were following them. But Isaza encouraged him to keep going.

"I told him (Isaza) I was not going to be able to make it, and he gave me encouragement, a lot of courage. The fear was huge," Lizcano told Colombian radio network Caracol.

The two men saw a military patrol on a boat early Sunday and called out to them, but they were initially ignored.

"Since we were hugging each other, they thought we were drunkards and would not pay notice. There was no alternative except for Isaza to show his rifle, and then military officers jumped into the river and came for us," Lizcano said.

He said he suffered eight bouts of malaria, and also endured leishmaniasis, urinary tract infections and gastritis. He was admitted to hospital with malnutrition, anemia, respiratory problems and swollen feet, according to an initial medical report.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe offered Isaza mercy and a new life in France.

FARC has been weakened since Uribe's first term of office in 2002, but political observers say it's unlikely that the government can win a military victory over the rebels.

TOGG partners with Farasis for li-ion battery production in Turkey
TOGG partners with Farasis for li-ion battery production in Turkey
Turkey reports 1,894 new COVID-19 cases, 351,413 in total
Turkey reports 1,894 new COVID-19 cases, 351,413 in total
Italy slows down on import of Turkish furniture
Italy slows down on import of Turkish furniture
Loading Bars
Association of Restaurants demands meeting with PM
TOGG partners with Farasis for li-ion battery production in Turkey
Iran exports over $30 billion worth of goods in 6 months
Earthquake reported 386km away from Almaty
Sarajevo mayor underlines urban cooperation with Tehran
China's 2020 auto production and sales could return to 2019 levels
Amazon extends work from home option till June
Can Tesla hit 2020 delivery goal? Investors watch for Musk steer
Fiancee of Khashoggi, human rights group sue Saudi crown prince in U.S.
Iraqi security forces find 50 bodies in mass grave in Kirkuk
5.6 tons of cannabis seized in Morocco
Ex-Burundi president gets prison term for 1993 killing of victorious election opponent
DOJ lawsuit unlikely to knock Google from pole position
Footage of destruction of Armenian Armed Forces' military equipment, manpower published (VİDEO)
News spread by Armenian Defense Ministry that military operations being conducted in Khudaferin direction nonsense - Azerbaijani MoD
I want my dear people to know that the capture of every village and every height requires great courage - President Aliyev
We are saying whatever is possible today, says Azerbaijani president
Online election registry available for Georgian citizens residing abroad
We will continue to expel these liars, says Azerbaijani president
Armenia must declare before it is too late that it is withdrawing from occupied territories - President Aliyev
We are fighting alone and everyone knows that - President Aliyev
President Aliyev on destroyed and taken as military boot military equipment of Armenian armed forces
Armenian leadership already on their knees, we have shown them place they deserve - Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijan conducts military operations on its territory recognized by international community, says President Aliyev
Our fist is there not only to smash the enemy’s head. Our fist is a fist of unity - President Aliyev
AstraZeneca U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial may resume as soon as this week
We are on the threshold of the Great Return - President Aliyev
Victorious Azerbaijani Army gaining new victories on battlefield, says Azerbaijani president
Professional journalist, Azerbaijan`s and AZERTAC`s friend He Ping appointed as President of Xinhua News Agency
They simply deceived us and international mediators - President Aliyev
Turkey reports 1,894 new COVID-19 cases, 351,413 in total
Int’l conference on 175th anniversary of Abai held in Kazakhstan
FLEX Alumni sends letter to attention of US Ambassador in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Air Defense Units destroy another UAV of Armenian armed forces
Senior diplomat: Iran has nothing to hide about Ukrainian plane incident
Armenian armed forces units in Gubadli direction destroyed (VİDEO)
Azerbaijan's MoD warns about sharing unnofficial information on social media
Azerbaijani ombudsman prepares report on Armenia’s shelling of Ganja with ballistic missiles
Three new cable cars built in Georgian Bakuriani
Azerbaijan destroys Armenian UAV flying in direction of Ganja
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office files criminal cases on crimes committed by Armenian troops
Azerbaijan's MoD dismisses Armenia's information on Khudaferin
Permits for residential construction remain solid overall in Georgia - TBC Research
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale October 21
Azerbaijan's Goranboy, Tartar subjected to artillery, missile fire from Armenia
Most of IUCN Red List flora, fauna species on Azerbaijan's occupied lands destroyed
Azerbaijani ministry predicts growth of electricity production by 2025
Azerbaijan reveals data on foreign trade turnover for 9M2020
Uzbekistan's official reserve assets decrease
Georgians arriving home with negative PCR tests not to be placed under mandatory quarantine
Georgia returns to third place in international hazelnut market
Preventive diplomacy is an integral part of Turkmenistan's neutrality - President of Turkmenistan
Islamophobia, Turkophobia – Armenia’s main disease, says Turkish presidential administration
Kazakhstan’s pharma company to build nonwoven fabric plant
Number of restored mines in Iran revealed
Kazakhstan's medical goods producing capacities to be increased before year-end
Turkmenistan significantly increases exports of cement products to Kazakhstan
Italy slows down on import of Turkish furniture
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Azerbaijan confirms 128 more COVID-19 recoveries
Whole world should see Armenia targeting Azerbaijan's civilians - Speaker of Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Uzbekistan to attract carbon credits to create forest plantations
Kazakhstan's imports of furniture, wood from Turkey up within 9M2020
Baku Stock Exchange places Azerbaijan's Finance Ministry state bonds at auction
Iran's Central Bank increases working hours for legal exchange offices as foreign currency rate drops
Mehriban Aliyeva congratulated Azerbaijani people on liberation of several villages of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Khojavand, Zangilan districts and the city of Zangilan
Israeli markets' demand for Turkish furniture rises
Review of Georgian exports to China
Iran`s President reacts to restriction of essential goods and medicine`s supply
Coronavirus spread reaches alarming state in some Iranian provinces
Kazakhstan's gov't decides on power plants' modernization methods in Almaty
Iranian Covid-19 vaccine to enter the human testing phase by early December
The dilemma of pricing of steel products in Iran stock exchange
Azerbaijani state service to put up state properties for auction
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Azerbaijan increases value of electricity production
Georgian Chestnuts Export plans to open production of chestnut flour
Iran car makers to offer 153,000 cars by the end of current Iranian year
Gasoline and methanol account for main part of Iran’s total export
2 civilians killed during shelling of Azerbaijan’s Tartar by Armenian armed forces
Azerbaijani FM meets with speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly (PHOTO)
Iran to reinstated several mines
Iran's import of Turkish furniture down significantly
Iran to provide free electricity to low consumption users in Tehran
Kazakhstan, Norway trade turnover increases despite COVID-19
EPR approves creation of Human Security Trust Fund for Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity to be fully restored soon: Leader of Russian party
Azerbaijani banks foreign currency demand disclosed
Oil bitumen imports decline in Georgia
Russian research institute names necessary measures to mitigate pandemic impact on Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan’s KazMunayGas to create system for managing field development process
Iran, Syria are expected to barter trade
Azerbaijani president renames liberated village of Khojavand district
Azerbaijani Express Bank's assets decrease
Armenian Defense Ministry once again admits retreat
Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan city (VIDEO)
Turkish wood, furniture exports to Georgia down - Trade Ministry
Turkey's export of wood, furniture to Iraq declines
Azerbaijani minister talks benefits of hydrowater plants on border with Iran
Armenia's current leadership unable to solve real problems well - Russian political strategist
All news