Colombia Rebels Release Three Journalists

Colombian rebels have released three journalists being held hostage by guerrillas in a remote and restive region of the country. The three were released Friday.

Spanish-Colombian journalist Salud Hernandez-Mora was abducted last Saturday in Catatumbo in northeastern Colombia by members of the National Liberation Army, or ELN. She was working on a story about coca growers who grow the plant used to make cocaine in an area known as a corridor for smuggling cocaine to Venezuela.

She said she was treated well by her captors who moved her frequently.

The 59-year-old journalist, who writes for Spain’s El Mundo newspaper and Colombian newspapers, was handed over to a delegation from the Roman Catholic Church.

Diego D’Pablo and Carlos Melo of the RCN network were covering Hernandez-Mora’s kidnapping when they were captured Monday by ELN. The RCN journalists were released by the insurgents a few hours after Hernandez-Mora’s release.

Colombia is attempting to end a five-decades long civil war.

ELN has recently agreed to hold peace talks with the government, but negotiations have been hampered by ongoing hostilities and kidnappings. ELN is Colombia’s second largest rebel group.

For the past three years, Colombia has been holding peace talks with its largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The talks have been held in Havana, Cuba.

The FARC has observed a cease-fire since last year.

Leftist rebels have been fighting a guerrilla war to topple Colombian governments since 1964, killing more than 220,000 people. They have used drug trafficking and kidnappings for ransom to fund their war.

Colombia’s rebel movement has been weakened in recent years, and right-wing paramilitary forces formed to counter leftist fighters have been disbanded.

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