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16 April 2024

ELN rebels release nine hostages in Colombia

By Agencies


Colombian guerrillas in the leftist National Liberation Army on Sunday released nine hostages and handed them over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, regional officials said.

The hostages, two women and seven men, were in good health after being delivered to the ICRC in a rural area of Samaniego, said Antonio Navarro, governor of the Narino department on the border with Ecuador.

The seven male hostages were truck drivers who had been kidnapped on January 2. Details about the female hostages remained unclear.

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has been engaged in on-and-off negotiations since December 2005 aimed at opening peace talks with the government of President Alvaro Uribe.

Bogota has demanded the immediate relelase of all hostages held by ELN -- estimated at more than 400 -- and an end to kidnapping.

With 4,000 fighters the pro-Cuban ELN is the second largest Colombian rebel group, after the 17,000-strong Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). (AFP)