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Colombia: ELN releases three

04-11-2013 News Release 13/186

Bogotá/Geneva (ICRC) – Three Colombian nationals held by the National Liberation Army (ELN, Ejército de Liberación Nacional) were today handed over to a commission made up of the ICRC, the Catholic church and the Ombudsman's Office in a rural area of Fortul, Arauca department, north-east Colombia.

An ICRC doctor examined the three and confirmed that they were fit to travel, before an ICRC vehicle took them to the town of Arauca, where they rejoined their families.

"The ICRC was able to carry out this operation thanks to the confidence we enjoy as a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization," explained Anne-Sylvie Linder, who heads the ICRC's Saravena office. "We are pleased to have helped reunite these three people with their families as quickly as possible." All three had been detained on 10 September in the Arauca town of Saravena.

The ICRC reiterates its willingness to facilitate any future humanitarian operation that helps relieve the suffering of people affected by the armed conflict.

So far this year, the ICRC has facilitated the release of 22 people held by armed groups in Colombia. The most recent release was on 27 October, when the FARC-EP handed over US national Kevin Scott Sutay to a commission consisting of ICRC delegates and representatives of the Colombian, Cuban and Norwegian governments. Acting in its role of neutral intermediary, the ICRC has facilitated the release of over 1,500 people in Colombia since 1994.

For further information, please contact:
Patricia Rey, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 89, @patriciareyICRC
Clara Lorena Araujo, ICRC Colombia, tel: +57 313 470 11 64
Jean-Yves Clémenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 17

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