According to Colonel Juan Carlos Vargas, commander of the army’s 14th Brigade, demobilized ELN fighters testified that the engineer, Leon Andres Montes, had been surrendered to rebels of the FARC.
The engineer was kidnapped in Amalfi, a municipality some 40 miles northwest of Medellin, said the army.
“The kidnapping of the engineer initially had [been carried out] by the ELN and they handed them to the Mario Velez [fighters unit] of the FARC,” Vargas told press at the press presentation of four demobilized ELN guerrillas.
According to newspaper El Colombiano, the army commander accused the ELN and FARC or “rotating” hostages.
The ELN and the FARC earlier this year announced to be uniting forces in the Antioquia department where both groups are active in order to “confront the big oligopolies, transnational capital and imperialism.”
Subsequently, the two supreme leaders of the guerrilla groups said to have met to discuss a country-wide alliance between the two groups that have been fighting the Colombian state since 1964.
The FARC banned kidnapping at the beginning of last year in what appeared to be a prelude to peace talks that were announced in August 2012. Since then, the FARC admitted to only have held “prisoners of war” captive.
The ELN, not involved in peace talks, have not banned kidnapping and seemed to have increased the number of high-profile kidnappings of foreigners and Colombians alike as it demands to be included in peace negotiations.