Colombian guerrilla organization the ELN released four female hostages in the north east border department of Norte de Santander Colombia, after 14 days in captivity, according to official sources cited in the Colombian daily El Espectador.
The rebels reportedly handed over the women to Leonel Pineda, the bishop of Ocaña, a town in Norte de Santander
Maria Angelica Gonzalez of Colombian government’s Attention to Communities at Risk program and Lisbeth Jaimes, Monica Duarte Rodriguez and Nora Guerrero from Fundacion Progresar were kidnapped on July 9. The incident occured in the municpality of Teorama, in the Norte de Santander department, while the officials were working with displaced people.
Details of the kidnapping emerged on the week beginning July 12. At first precise details of the incident were unclear, with authorities unsure as to whether the ELN or the FARC were to blame. In the aftermath of the incident however, William Villamizar, governor of Norte de Santander, stated there was a probability that the women would be released within a short period.
Neither the authorities nor the families of the kidnap victims reported that the ELN had attempted to seek a ransom for the hostages.
According to W Radio, the freed hostages were given a message by the guerrilla organization, which they are expected to make public within the next few hours.