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Colombia ELN rebels release three hostages: Red Cross

A Colombian leftist guerrilla group, the ELN, on Monday freed three oil workers who had been kidnapped September 10, the Red Cross said. The hostages -- Ever Arnulfo Morera Cabrera, Nelson Carreno Becerra and Yesit Francisco Galindo Mesa -- were brought to the town of Fortul, near the border with Venezuela. "As a committee, we are very happy to confirm the liberation," Patricia Rey, spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross, told AFP.

Negotiations needed for FARC peace deal referendum

President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday announced that a potential national vote on a peace deal with leftist FARC rebels would also be negotiated with rebels. "That referendum will have to be negotiated with the other party. And that's what we are going to see if we can do in the coming days," Santos said at the presidential palace. Peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government opened last November in Cuba, the fourth attempt since the 1980s to end Latin America's longest-running armed conflict.

Colombian president calls for calm as farm protests reach Bogota

By Helen Murphy and Fernando Peinado BOGOTA (Reuters) - Thousands of Colombian farmers and state workers marched through Bogota on Thursday, banging pots and pans as they converged on the capital after 11 days of increasingly violent protests against agricultural and trade policies they say have left them impoverished. Students wearing balaclavas pelted shop windows with rocks near the capital's main square and clashed with riot police who fired tear gas to disperse them.

Colombia's No. 2 rebel movement frees Canadian mining executive it kidnapped in January

BOGOTA - Colombia's No. 2 rebel group on Tuesday freed a Canadian mining executive it kidnapped in January and whose release the government had demanded as a condition for opening peace talks. Gernot Wober, 47, was freed in the turbulent northern state where he was seized Jan. 18 while visiting a gold-mining camp at a concession his company had purchased and was exploring.

Rebels free Canadian hostage in Colombia: Red Cross

Colombia's leftist ELN rebels have freed a Canadian engineer in what they called a humanitarian gesture after holding him for more than seven months, the Red Cross said Tuesday. The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that Jernoc Wobert had boarded an ICRC helicopter in good health and was being flown to safety. It said he was handed over by National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels in a rural area in the southern Bolivar department.

Canadian mining company executive kidnapped by Colombian rebels has been freed

TORONTO - A Canadian mining executive who was kidnapped seven months ago by Colombian rebels opposed to his company's gold mining project has been freed and will soon return home, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday. Gernot Wober, 47, was released by National Liberation Army rebels in a rural region in northern Colombia and was transferred by a Red Cross helicopter to the city of Barrancabermeja, north of Bogota. The ICRC said Wober was in good health.

Colombia's ELN rebels free Canadian geologist

By Helen Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's ELN rebels freed a Canadian geologist they had held captive for seven months on Tuesday, meeting one of the demands by President Juan Manuel Santos to enable the start of peace talks with the insurgent group.

Colombia's ELN guerrillas say will release Canadian hostage in days

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's ELN guerrillas said on Monday they would release in the coming days a Canadian geologist they had kidnapped in January, a step the government has set as a pre-condition before it considers inviting the rebel group to peace talks. Jernoc Wobert was seized by the ELN or National Liberation Army in Bolivar province in the north of the country along with two Peruvian and three Colombian miners all contracted by the Toronto-based gold mining company, Braeval Mining Corp.

Colombia's Santos admits contacts with ELN guerrillas with eye on peace talks

Bogota, Aug 8 (EFE).- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday admitted that official contacts had been made with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, the country's second-largest guerrilla organization, with an eye on possible peace talks that would be held simultaneously with those currently under way with the FARC rebels in Cuba. "Some contacts have been made," said Santos in a pretaped interview with Caracol Noticias television to be broadcast Thursday evening. Santos also said that he hopes that those "conversations will begin soon."

Colombia's largest oil pipeline attacked

Colombia's largest oil pipeline was hit by an explosion causing a significant oil spill in an attack blamed on leftist guerrillas, the army said Monday. The 780-kilometer (485-mile) Limon-Covenas pipeline, operated by US oil firm Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), was attacked near the town of Saravena, in eastern Colombia, the regional army commander told reporters. The oil spill has affected the local water source and vegetation, but the attack caused no injuries, he added, saying repair work has begun under military guard.
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