The ELN on Monday announced that they are close to releasing the Canadian citizen whom they have held captive since January.
In a statement published on the group’s web page, the rebels acknowledged the announcement from Canadian company Braewal Mining Corporation that they are returning two mining titles back to the communities of Southern Bolivar.
“This gesture of goodwill nears the release of its vice-president of Exploration, Jernoc Wobert.”
“We have decided to find a negotiated solution to this problem and we hope that it will be resolved soon, so that the Canadian citizen can return to his family” added the ELN.
Wobert, the abducted employee, was taken hostage in the northern Bolivar department on January 18 in what the ELN called an “action in defense of national sovereignty and national resources.”
The rebel group had claimed that the Canadian firm had “used deceit to snatch mining rights away from communities”, and insisted that Wobert would only be released once the firm had relinquished all mining titles.
This led to Braewal Mining Corporation ceasing all activities in Colombia, citing “unfavorable markets.” The ELN however, were insistent that Wobert’s release was dependent on the relinquishing of all mining titles, not simply the ceasing of mining activities.
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Additionally, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had made the release of the Canadian a condition for the ELN to be involved in the peace talks, currently being held in Havana with fellow rebel group FARC.