Colombian ELN Frees Kidnapped Woman

By Dialogo
May 23, 2013

On May 21, the Colombian guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) a Colombian woman who had been kidnapped in August 2012, the humanitarian organization reported.

“In a rural area of Fortul municipality, Arauca department (on the border with Venezuela), [a woman] was handed to the ICRC’s humanitarian mission,” a communiqué stated, without identifying the 29-year-old released hostage.

“The woman is in good general health,” said Anne Silvie Linder, chief of the ICRC office in Saravena, citing the statement in which neither the circumstances, nor the reasons why the ELN freed the woman were explained.

After her release, the former hostage was transported by land on an ICRC vehicle to Saravena, where she was “reunited with her family,” the report stated, adding that so far in 2013, the ICRC “has facilitated the release of 12 people.”

The release occurred after Colombian authorities reported on May 21 that they were investigating the presumed kidnapping of two Spanish nationals, which might have occurred on May 17 in the department of La Guajira, located in the northeast border with Venezuela.

According to the local media, the kidnapped Spanish citizens are Ángel Sánchez Hernández and María Concepción Marlaska, the latter presumably related to Spanish judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

The ELN, Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group with 2,500 members, is still holding a Canadian engineer who was taken hostage in a remote rural area of Bolívar department in January.