.- Church leaders on Colombia announced the imminent release of 7 tourists kidnapped in Nevada Mountains of Santa Marta by a leftist rebel group.
The announcement was made by Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro and Father Darío Echeverry, members of commission the Church organized to negotiate with the National Liberation Army (ELN), after consulting with President Alvaro Uribe.
“We have the green light, and the President has expressed his support,” said Fr. Echeverry.
The rebel ELN agreed with Church officials to gradually release all 7 of the tourists kidnapped as they hiked in the Lost City, an ancient archeological site located in the remote mountainous region of Santa Marta, north of Bogotá. “The Central Command of this illegal rebel group has decided to release the tourists beginning with a Spaniard at the beginning of next week,” announced Archbishop Alberto Giraldo of Medellín. They will be turned over to a delegation composed of Church officials and UN representatives.
The ELN also accepted the proposal by Church leaders to send a commission to assess the humanitarian crisis that exists in the Nevada Mountains region.