Representatives from Colombia’s Red Cross and the Catholic church began an operation on Tuesday to retrieve a Canadian miner held hostage by rebel group ELN.
According to reports, a helicopter carrying the official exchange team left the Santander department headed for a set of mountain coordinates in Bolivar, close to wear the Canadian mining executive was originally kidnapped.
En route are representatives of the International Red Cross, the Archbishop of Cali Dario de Jesus Monsalve and Francisco de Roux, the leader of the Jesuit Church in Colombia. The team, designated after mediation between the ELN and the national government, is following a set of instructions agreed upon last Thursday, and only received the coordinates shortly before leaving.
Wobert was kidnapped in January while working in a mine owned by his employer, Canadian mining company Braewal. The ELN refused to let the hostage go until Braewal agreed to surrender mining concessions to local communities, who the guerrillas said were robbed of their titles.
If all goes according to plan, the ELN, Colombia’s second largest guerrilla organization, could begin limited peace talks with the government, which President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to on the condition that the Canadian be returned safely.