Journalist Elida Parra Alfonso and environmental engineer Gina Paola Uribe Villamizar were turned over to a humanitarian commission composed of delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross and representatives of the Catholic Church in the northeastern Arauca department.
Members of the Red Cross informed Colombian authorities as well as family members of the women’s recovery. After checking their general health the women were transported to their homes in the Saravena municipality of the region.
“Since the day they fell into the power of the ELN, we were dependant on the luck of Elida and Gina, and we stayed in permanent contact with their families. Today we are filled with satisfaction to announce their freedom and facilitate the reunion with their families,” said Daniel Littlejohn-Carrillo, head of the Red Cross office in Saravena.
Both women had been doing contract work for the Bicentennial Oil Pipeline, a $4.2 billion construction project set to be Colombia’s longest pipeline, carrying crude oil along the Venezuelan border to Caribbean ports. A video was released earlier this month proving that the two women were still alive while they asked their employers for cooperation in securing their release.
The Red Cross has participated in humanitarian actions for decades in Colombia and have presently recovered the freedom of 28 people in the country.