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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Colombia: remaining hostages may be home by Christmas
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 The remaining five foreign tourists in the hands of the guerrillas of the 'North Front' of the ELN (National Liberation Front) may be released by Christmas. This news was reported by Mgr Héctor Fabio Henao, head of the Church's Social Pastoral, and one of the mediators in negotiations with the guerrillas. On Monday, Mgr Hector, along with a delegation of aid workers received the German tourist Reinhilt Weigel and Spanish Asier Huegun Etxeberría. He said: "The accord with the ELN is that we will continue our works in the monitoring process of the populations of Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta for the drawing up of a report on the situation of the families of the region". The two hostages were released because the Catholic Church, the 'Defensoría del pueblo' (sort of civil rights office) and the Colombian United Nations office, promised to send a mission to monitor the serious humanitarian crisis afflicting the indigenous and farmer communities of the region. Last week, the Front of the ELN confirmed its willingness to release the entire group, which includes one British man, Mark Henderson and four Israelis, Beni Daniel, Ortaz Ohayon, Ido Joseph Guy and Erez Altawil. In claiming responsibility for the kidnapping, the guerrillas denounced a series of murders by paramilitary groups, conducted from 1998 to date in the region which include the killing of at least a hundred fishermen in the zone of Ciénaga Grande of Santa Marta. Source: MISNA
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