Colombia rebels hand over German captives after 4 months

Bogota, Mar 8 (EFE).- The smaller of Colombia's two main guerrilla groups on Friday handed over two German captives to a humanitarian commission, ending their four-month ordeal, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC said in a statement that brothers Uwe and Günther Breuer were freed by the National Liberation Army, or ELN, "in a rural zone of Norte de Santander province," where they had been kidnapped on Nov. 3 while touring the area.

The operation was delayed one day due to logistical problems.

The humanitarian commission that received the men was made up of the ICRC, two Colombian officials, a priest and a German diplomat.

The Breuer brothers "are being taken by civilian helicopter with ICRC emblems to the Aguas Claras Airport in Ocaña, Norte de Santander," the organization said.

They are to be turned over there to German embassy officials and Colombian government representatives.

Since 1994, the ICRC has participated in operations leading to the release of 1,500 people held by Colombian illegal armed groups.

The ELN, with an estimated 1,500 fighters, is still holding Canadian engineer Gernot Erich Wober, vice president of Geo Explorer, a subcontractor of Canada's Braeval Mining Corporation, which operates the Snow Mine project in northern Colombia.

Wober was one of six people grabbed in an Jan. 18 ELN raid on the Snow Mine camp. The rebels released the other five captives last month.