Colombia rebels: Eight released after kidnap blamed on ELN

BBCEight people kidnapped in Colombia at the weekend have been released, President Juan Manuel Santos has said. Mr Santos credited public pressure with forcing the kidnappers to release the seven men and one woman.

According to the army, gunmen forced the hostages into a boat on Sunday, taking them deep into the jungle in the western Chocó department. The government had accused the National Liberation Army (ELN) of being behind the kidnapping.

Peace negotiations with the ELN – Colombia’s second largest rebel group – started in February and another round of talks is due to begin in Ecuador next week. The government demands that the rebels stop kidnapping people, as they frequently do, for financial gain. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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