Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, has released a soldier they had captured in combat in the northeast of Colombia, the Red Cross said Thursday.
According to the humanitarian organization, the soldier was surrendered to a humanitarian mission consisting of delegates of the Red Cross and the Catholic Church.
The ELN released the soldier in Fortul, a municipality in the northeastern Arauca department where the rebels have a strong military presence.
The released soldier had been captured a month ago when ELN rebels attacked a military convoy in which at least ten other soldiers were killed.
The release took place approximately 30 miles from where the soldier had been taken prisoner.
The guerrilla organization who is primarily strong on the northern half of the border with Venezuela is still holding a Canadian miner and allegedly an unknown number of civilians hostage.
The group has persisted in beginning peace talks with the Colombian government, who have welcomed the idea once the Canadian is released.
The ELN was formed in 1964 and has been fighting the Colombian state ever since. Following a paramilitary offensive in the late 1990s and a military offensive in the first decade of this century, the group lost military control of most its territory. However, the group is suspected of having maintained a relatively strong political following particularly among radical university students.
- Press release Red Cross