Thursday, December 26, 2013

Colombia: ELN Rebels Release Colombian Kidnap Victim, 59, Who Worked for OP

According to The Latin American Tribune, rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) handed José Eulogio Vera, 54, over to the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in a rural area outside Arauquita, a town near the Venezuelan border, at around 2000 hours on Tuesday (December  24).

The ELN had held the Colombian captive since October 30, 2013, as the victim worked for a local unit of California-based Occidental Petroleum and Colombian state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol. 

COMMENT: The ELN is the smaller of Colombia's two leftist terrorist groups, the larger being the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Both the ELN and the FARC have been engaged in negotiations with the Colombian government for months with varied results, although the ELN appears to be making a much more concerted effort than the FARC, which has been engaged in negotiations for months in Havana with less than fruitful results.

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) handed Jose Eulogio Vera over to the ICRC in a rural area outside Arauquita, a town near the Venezuelan border, at around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Vera was reunited with his family in the nearby town of Saravena after a medical exam revealed he was in good health.

The ELN had earlier claimed responsibility for the abduction of the 54-year-old Vera, who was working for a company contracted by the local unit of California-based Occidental Petroleum and Colombian state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol.

Thus far this year, the ICRC has participated in the release of 25 individuals (19 Colombians and six foreigners) being held by the FARC.