The official radio station of Colombia’s last-standing rebel group, the ELN, on Friday retracted an earlier claim it had released two Dutch journalists held hostage since Saturday.
Conservative television network RCN reported the release of TV host Derk Holt and cameraman Eugenio Follender were surrendered to a humanitarian delegation earlier Friday. This was confirmed by ELN’s official radio station.
Neither Colombian nor Dutch authorities had confirmed the release.
Hours after the RCN claim, the guerrilla station retracted its earlier statement, saying it had not “verified well” whether the journalists were released.
El error es de RANPAL como medio que recibió un reporte y no lo corroboró por canales internos. Y no del ELN que siempre cumple su palabra.
— ELN_RANPAL (@ELN_RANPAL_COL) June 24, 2017
While the guerrilla radio station rectified its false claim and offered its apologies. RCN, the network that also falsely reported the release, had neither retracted its false claim nor apologized at the time of publication of this article.
The guerrillas’ radio station “secured that the Dutch journalists are fine and hopes to soon report on their freedom.”
.@ELN_RANPAL_COL aseguró que periodistas holandeses están bien y que espera pronto dar noticias de su libertad.
— Daniel Hernández (@DanielHNRadio) June 24, 2017
Bolt and Follender work for a Dutch television program called “Spoorloos” that is dedicated to finding the Colombian birth parents of adopted Dutch citizens.
The two disappeared in the municipality of El Tarra while on their way to Tibu, both located in what is considered ELN heartland.
The ELN later claimed responsibility for the taking hostage of the journalist and vowed to release them.