Jason: Don’t rightwing governments in Latin America do the same to rebels?
RL: They often execute them after they capture them, correct. Not always but there have been quite a few cases. El Salvador and Guatemala were two of the worst.
Jason: Honestly, both sides do. That’s just the way Civil War is done.
The rebels in Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, and Guatemala did not execute enemy soldiers that they captured. Neither does Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, the PKK or the NPA in the Philippines. It’s mostly states that do that.
The rebels are usually very kind to captured soldiers, even allowing them to go over to their side. Or they release them to the Red Cross. They usually do this as a PR tactic as in look at how brutal this evil government army is, they run death squads and execute captured soldiers. We on the other hand, are complete humanitarians.
However, if the Salvadoran guerrillas captured notorious human rights violators or members of death squads, they would put them on trial and then shoot them.
Well, not always.
In Colombia, the FARC kept them as POW’s. The media called them hostages, but they were really just POW’s. They weren’t treated real great, but they didn’t kill them. Hezbollah and Hamas take them prisoner too, to use in exchanges for imprisoned rebels. The Colombian rebels used their POW’s for the same thing.
Capturing them live and keeping them alive, they are often worth their weight in gold because you can trade one captive Israeli for 1,000 Palestinians in prison. But with Hamas and the FARC, if the government tries to rescue the POW’s, the rebels shoot them.
The Syrian rebels tend to shoot their captives. The Iraqi guerrillas did too. The Iraqis also shot a few captured US soldiers. The Taliban shoot captured government soldiers too. ISIS always shoots their captured soldiers.
In Colombia and Peru, the governments tended to arrest and imprison captured rebels.
Saudi Arabia tended to capture guerrillas, arrest them, re-educate them, and release them. The Syrian government often arrests captured rebels, but it sometimes shoots them too. And the Syrians often kill them after they arrest them. Kurds in Syria and Iran tended to take rebels prisoner, even ISIS guerrillas!
During their civil war last decade, Egypt captured 1,500 guerrillas. They would take them out to the Egyptian desert and tie them to a chair with no food or water. As you can guess, that’s a quick death sentence. Jordan captures guerrillas alive but often badly tortures them.
Iran executes any rebels that it captures. I think Turkey arrests and jails captured PKK people. Early in the Chechen War, the guerrillas used to take Russian soldiers captive. Both sides captured fighters alive in the war in the Donbass in Ukraine. However there were some executions of prisoners by one Ukrainian formation. The rebels then executed any officers they captured from that group of soldiers.
The Indian government tends to shoot any rebels they capture. The Pakistani government sometimes shoots captured guerrillas. I saw a video where they shot dead about 20 of them. It was pretty sickening.
US forces in Iraq and Syria almost always took prisoners, but there were a few cases of execution of captured guerrillas, particularly ISIS captives. Trump just pardoned a Special Forces soldier accused of that, and that guy wasn’t the only one. Special Forces troops are bad when it comes to that, the worst in the US military.
They set up these things called “encounters.” They arrest the rebel, and then they shoot him and put a gun in his hand and say it was a shootout.
I don’t have any information on how governments treat captured guerrillas in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Congo, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tunisia, Libya, or Lebanon.
One thought on “Differential Treatment of Captured Enemy Fighters by States and Guerrillas in Recent Wars”
I remember on that movie Captain Ron – it was so funny when Martin Short was told – there was Gorillas in these woods – ha ha.