Colombia govt expects German ELN hostages to be released by 12PM


Though Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, did not release their two German hostages on Thursday as promised, they will on Friday, said government attaché Jaime Bernal Cueller.

Bernal said that the reason the guerrillas did not release the two German nationals was due to difficulties in getting to the specified area. Bernal claimed that the ELN had no qualms with releasing the men they have been holding since November.

“[We believe] the result will be positive,” said Bernal. “There’s no opposition [from] the guerrillas, [the only problems were] external difficulties.”

MORE: German ELN hostages ‘to be released today’: Red Cross

According to the ex-prosecutor, the release mission was to be resumed at 7AM Friday morning and if all goes according to plan, Bernal expects that the authorities will have the two Germans by noon.

The two retired German tourists, Uwe and Gunther Otto Breur, were captured by the rebels in the northern Catatumbo region in November of 2012. The ELN said that the foreigners were to be considered “foreign intelligence agents until proven otherwise.”

The Red Cross has been working together with former Colombian politicians, Horacio Serpa and Bernal, since February to negotiate the foreigners’ release.

The ELN has, unlike the larger rebel group FARC, not vowed to end the kidnapping of civilians for financial reasons.


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