A British man who was held hostage in Colombia seven years ago released a documentary on Wednesday about returning to the country to meet his kidnapper.
Mark Henderson was visiting his cousin in Colombia when he was kidnapped by the ELN on September 12, 2003. Henderson was held hostage for 101 days along with a German, a Spaniard and four Israelis.
Eleven months after their liberation Henderson received an email from one of the kidnappers, “Antonio” who “wanted to apologize for what had happened,” says Henderson. Antonio also contacted one of the other hostages, a German, via Facebook. Henderson and Antonio stayed in contact online for five years, until Henderson decided to meet his abductor in person and make a documentary about the encounter.
In an interview with newspaper El Espectador, Henderson explained that “I always wanted to find answers to the more than 100 questions I had during my abduction. Antonio could give me those answers. I also wanted to find the man who had kidnapped us and ask why he had contacted us. I always wondered whether I should return or not.”
Over time they “developed a cordial relationship,” which made Henderson decide to return to Colombia and confront his kidnapper.
“I am curious to know what Colombians think about the movie. I hope the documentary doesn’t reflect the country badly,” Henderson said. “I fear the reaction Colombians might have. I hope they will be positive, but I really understand our story is just a page or a paragraph in the history of the problems in Colombia.”
He further stated that he now better understands the ELN’s motives, but he agrees with Antonio’s final words at the end of the documentary that “there is no justification for kidnapping.”