Colombian guerrilla group holding Dutch journalists as "precaution"
On Wednesday Colombian guerrilla movement ELN confirmed that they are responsible for the abduction of Dutch journalists Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender. The two are being held as a "precaution" while the group investigates what exactly they were doing in Norte de Santander, the group said, according to newspaper AD.
ELN also confirmed that they are in the midst of negotiations on the Dutch men's release. According to AD, the Catholic Church is acting as mediator in the negotiations The Pope is set to visit Colombia in September, and the church is pressuring the abductors, and the very religious ELN in general, to sign a peace agreement. This agreement could speed up Bolt and Follender's release.
Bolt urgently needs medication, George Quintero, police commissioner of the Norte de Santander department, said to AD. "Mr. Bolt indeed needs medication. As far as I know it is for diabetes", Quintero said.
The police commissioner is involved in the negotiations for the Dutch men's release. He is positive that it will happen soon. "The men can be set free at any moment. We're awaiting a signal from ELN."
Bolt and Follender are the presenter and cameraman for television program Spoorloos, a show about finding lost relatives. The two men were in Colombia looking for the biological mother of a girl that was adopted from the country.
Earlier this week Richard Claro, a member of a humanitarian commission especially appointed for the two Dutch journalists, said that they should be released on Wednesday. It is unclear why that did not happen.