Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 10653
Publish Date: 16:22 - 24 June 2017
TEHRAN, June 24, YJC -Rebels with Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) group have freed two Dutch journalists snatched days ago in the country's northeast, officials said Saturday.

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Colombia's ombudsman office, which handles human rights issues, wrote on Twitter that the rebel group freed reporter Derk Johannes Bolt, 62, and his cameraman Eugenio Ernest Marie Follender, 58, in a rural area of Norte de Santander State.

The office posted an accompanying photo showing the pair, pictured with some of the rebels, along with Colombian human rights officials.

The announcement came after rebels issued what turned out to be an erroneous announcement earlier Friday stating that the two men, who had been kidnapped on June 19, had been released.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders early Saturday confirmed that the journalists had been freed.

"Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender were released today in the very dangerous region of Catatumbo in northern Colombia," he said, adding that the families of both men have been informed and that the Dutch ambassador has been able to speak with them.
Officials feared that the high-profile kidnapping could disrupt peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government.

The journalists work for Spoorloos, a program on Kro-Ncrv TV that helps Dutch people trace their biological relatives around the world.

The government of Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and ELN opened peace talks on February 7 in Quito, Ecuador, after nearly four years of secret negotiations.

The ELN, with 1,500 fighters, is the last guerrilla group still active in Colombia.

The government is seeking a "complete peace" with the ELN after reaching a peace accord last year with the much larger FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The Colombian civil conflict erupted in 1964 when the FARC and ELN took up arms for rural land rights.

The fighting, which over the years drew in various rebel and paramilitary groups and drug gangs as well as state forces, has left at least 260,000 people dead, according to authorities.

(Source: AFP)

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