Leftist Guerrillas Release Sick Hostage in Colombia

By Dialogo
January 25, 2011

Guerrillas with Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s second largest rebel group, on 21 January released a sick hostage they had been holding for more than six months.

The 34-year-old man was delivered to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in “a remote zone” of the Colombia’s north-western Choco province, the group said.

The man’s name was not released, but the ICRC said he was in “delicate health” and was put aboard a helicopter and flown to a hospital in the city of Medellin.

ELN guerrillas contacted the ICRC to help arrange the release, the group said.

The country’s main guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), announced on December 7 that it would release five hostages to the ICRC.

The ICRC called on “all armed groups” to quickly release all hostages, and said it was ready to act as a “neutral intermediary.”

Washington, the European Union and Colombia consider both groups terrorist organizations.