Colombia confirms that the 5 people who were kidnapped last week in Saravena, Arauca department, by units of the National Liberation Army guerrillas (ELN) have been released. As recently revealed, 3 adults and 2 minors were allegedly mistaken for state intelligence officials and illegally detained in a rural area of Arauca, a border department.
As has been reported, the release was carried out by the ELN itself on the night of November 14. The 5 individuals spent the initial moments of their freedom in the military cantonment of the municipality of Saravena, where they received medical attention before being transferred to Cúcuta, the capital of Norte de Santander.
Five days in captivity
Although the events occurred on November 9, they were not publicly known until last Monday, November 13. The individuals were engaged in street vending of perfumes when they were surprised and assaulted by a unit of the ELN, allegedly by members of the Domingo Laín Sáenz front.
“Once we became aware, we activated the mechanisms and contacted people who could tell us what happened. We managed to locate the person in charge, who is the representative who supplies the products. He confirmed that they called him and told him that two individuals arrived at a restaurant in the El Modelo neighborhood asking who the vendors were, and they were taken away,” said Colonel Luis Tuesta, commander of the Arauca police, in statements to W Radio.
Peace Talks in Colombia
It is worth noting that these events take place after the strong media and social impact caused by the kidnapping, also by the ELN, of the father of the soccer player Luis Díaz. Although all these criminal acts have ended with the release of those involved, they are overshadowing the peace talks that this illegal armed group has been conducting with the government for a year.
If no other issues arise, it is planned to resume the dialogue in its fifth phase next Monday, November 20, in Mexico. It has been reported that the government will come to the table demanding an end to kidnapping and the immediate release of all individuals in the hands of this illegal armed group, as stated by official negotiators.
However, the ELN has already warned that the issue is not on the agenda and cited reasons related to its funding, indicating that it is not interested in opening that conversation.