A collection of former state officials and political scientists speaks out on the eight hostages currently held by the country’s second largest guerrilla group, the ELN.
The ELN on January 18 kidnapped six people — three Colombians, two Peruvians, and a Canadian — in northern Colombia who were working for a Canadian-based mining company. Then on Monday, the insurgents kidnapped two German nationals that they claimed were spies. Both the German and Colombian government vehemently denied this allegation.
BACKGROUND: ELN kidnaps 2 Germans in north Colombia
In the aftermath of the most recent kidnapping, the German government created their own “crisis team” to assist their Colombian counterparts in the retrieval of the hostages. The names and titles of their Colombian counterparts are: former governors Antonio Navarro and Horacio Serpa, former prosecutor Jaime Bernal, and political scientist Alejo Vargas Velasquez.
“This is also the commission, which in the past has served in previous governments [in the same] task and would be willing to do it again with great pleasure, but it all depends if the government and the ELN respond positively to this offer,” said Vargas.
Santos said that he “hopes that the ELN has the sense…to take the first step in the direction of releasing the hostages.”