Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday authorized a humanitarian commission to negotiate the release of two German tourists held hostage in the north of the country since November.
“The kidnapped German has a message sent by the ELN saying that if we authorize the International Committee of the Red Cross to interact with the ELN, I understand they will immediately release the two German hostages,” said the president.
German authorities said the kidnapped men were brothers of 69 and 72 years. They had come to Colombia as part of an eco-tourism trip in South America.
The ELN had previously accused the Germans of being spies and earlier in February had demanded proof of empoyment in Germany and of family ties.
“I hope the ELN keeps its word and releases them as soon as possible,” said Santos. The commission will be co-ordinated by lawyer Jaime Bernal Cuellar.