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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

Guerrillas Release Kidnapped UN Official in Colombia

BOGOTA – A UN official who was kidnapped on May 3 by dissident FARC guerrillas in southeastern Colombia was released on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

Harley Lopez, who worked as a contractor for the UN, “has informed his superiors that he was released by his kidnappers,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.

On May 3, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents under the command of Ivan Mordisco kidnapped Lopez, who worked for the PINS crop-substitution program, in Barranquillita, a remote village outside the city of Miraflores, in the southern province Guaviare.

The UN office in Colombia confirmed in a statement that Lopez had been released by the rebels.

“We want to thank the national authorities, the commission of community leaders and other organizations for their joint work with the United Nations to bring about the release,” the UN said.

Lopez, a Colombian national, spent 62 days in captivity after the rebels abducted him.

The UN employee was kidnapped by the FARC’s 1st Front, which has rejected the peace agreement signed by the guerrilla group’s leaders with the government.

The Colombian government, UN, Amnesty International (AI) and other groups had called for Lopez’s release.

FARC leaders and the government signed a peace agreement on Nov. 24, 2016, in Bogota, ending the 53-year-old armed conflict in the South American nation.

On June 27, the FARC, Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group, officially laid down its arms.

 

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