Colombia ELN rebels free German brothers kidnapped in November


A Colombian policeman guards a building full of bullet holes in the Colombian department of Cauca, where tensions have been mounting among Colombian security forces, the local indigenous population and the leftist guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.


Luis Robayo

Colombia rebel group ELN freed two German brothers they had kidnapped in November.

According to the Associated Press, the National Liberation Army released Guenther Otto Breuer, 72, and his 69-year-old brother, Uwe Breuer, after kidnapping them on Nov. 3 in Teorama, a town near the Venezuela border riddled with guerrilla presence and filled with coca fields, and accusing them of being spies.

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Gunther and Uwe had been traveling through South America in a jeep when they were captured, reported BBC News. They are now said to be in good health and were taken by Red Cross helicopter from the northeastern jungle of Catatumbo to a nearby airport, where German embassy delegates were waiting.

"We're glad that the two men have been freed and will soon be reunited with their families," said Jordi Raich, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Colombia, according to Agence France-Presse.

"It's gratifying to be of service in this kind of operation. As an impartial, neutral and independent intermediary between all the parties to the conflict, the ICRC is always keen to help relieve the suffering of people who have been deprived of liberty."

The ELN has around 2,500 members, making it second only to Colombia's FARC rebel group, which has an estimated 8,000 fighters.