The Red Cross is preparing the possible liberation of two German nationals kidnapped in northern Colombia in November of last year.
The International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the protocol discussed with Colombia’s defense ministry outlined practical matters in regard to a liberation, like the suspension of military activity in the zone where the ELN rebels were believed to have detained the Germans.
However, spokespersons of the Red Cross said the commission did not yet have a precise date or place for the liberation, although they were expected to be given “soon.”
The commission, comprised of the ex-minister of the Interior, Horacio Serpa, and other former politicians, was authorized in February by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos to initiate plans for a liberation of the two German brothers, named Günther Otto Breuer y Uwe Breuer.
The ICRC, the commission and the ministry of defense will now determine the security protocol to facilitate the release of the foreigners.
The two brothers were kidnapped in the war-torn Catatumbo region in northern Colombia, where ELN rebels and insurgents from the larger rebel group FARC have a significant presence. ELN rebels claimed the two were “foreign intelligence agents until proven otherwise,” while Colombian and German authorities said the two men were tourists who arrived in Colombia as a part of a world tour.
The rebel group is also still holding the Canadian national Jernoc Wobert captive somewhere in the northern Bolivar department. The Canadian citizen was captured in January together with five other gold miners, all of whom were released in February. The ELN, however, said “the Canadian will stay in [captivity].”
The ELN, with some 2,500 armed members and a large militia support network, has been fighting the Colombian state for nearly half a century.