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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Colombia’s leftist ELN rebels comply with cease kidnapping for ransom

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BOGOTA, Colombia — Rebels from Colombia’s leftist Nationwide Liberation Military stated Sunday they’ve agreed to cease utilizing kidnapping as a fund-raising tactic, if the present cease-fire with the federal government is prolonged.

The pledge got here on the finish of a spherical of talks between the 2 sides over the weekend in Mexico Metropolis.

Colombians have grown indignant at kidnappings by the guerrillas, identified by their Spanish initials because the ELN. That anger mounted in October when the rebels kidnapped the daddy of soccer star Luis Díaz, and held him for 12 days earlier than he was launched. Diaz’s mom was rescued inside hours by police.

It isn’t clear if the rebels will launch an estimated 38 Colombians they at the moment maintain in captivity, typically pending a ransom demand. Nor was it clear if the pledge can be revered within the cease-fire — declared in August and resulting from expire Jan. 29 — isn’t prolonged.

Overcoming the kidnapping scandal marked a renewed breath of air for the usually maligned peace talks.

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“After important moments … we’ve made agency progress towards peace with the ELN,” stated the federal government’s head negotiator, Vera Grabe.

Díaz is likely one of the most gifted gamers on Colombia’s nationwide workforce and at the moment performs for Liverpool within the English Premier League, which he joined final yr in a deal price $67 million. The kidnapping of his dad and mom got here as kidnappings for ransom and extortion of companies improve in Colombia regardless of efforts by the nation’s first left-wing authorities to dealer ceasefires with insurgent teams.

Criminals and insurgent teams within the nation have lengthy kidnapped civilians for ransom with a purpose to finance their operations. The ELN was based in 1964, and is among the many final remaining insurgent teams to put down their arms.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro stated Friday that extending the cease-fire would depend upon talks about eliminating the rebels’ reliance on illicit commerce in cocaine and different items. That subject, which the assertion described as “changing illicit commerce,” often is the subsequent stumbling block for the talks for the reason that rebels hotly deny they have interaction in cocaine smuggling.



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