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Dutch Journalists Kidnapped By Colombian Rebels

First Posted: Jun 20, 2017 11:04 AM EDT

Two Dutch journalists have reportedly been kidnapped in Colombia by left-wing insurgent group ELN, according to military sources.

Members of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional or National Liberation Army captured Derk Johannes Bolt and Eugenio Ernest Marie Follender in northeast Colombia, close to the border with Venezuela. The pair were working for a Dutch television program centered on reuniting lost family members and were looking for the mother of a Colombian girl adopted in the Netherlands.

In addition to demanding their safe return, detachments of Colombian special forces units are in the volatile area investigating the disappearances. Per the group's Twitter account, the ELN neither confirmed nor denied their involvment with the kidnappings and that they themselves would also look into the incident.

In May 2016 in the same region, ELN rebels kidnapped a Colombian-Spanish journalist and two Colombian TV reporters. The reporters were handed over days later to authorities. The ELN, Colombia's second biggest rebel group, began peace talks with the government in February to put an end to one aspect of five decades of war in Colombia.

The biggest rebel movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, signed a peace accord late last year and is expected to complete total disarmament within the year. Over 200,000 people have lost their in an asymmetrical conflict that pit the military against FARC, ELN and right-wing paramilitary groups and drug cartels since it began in 1952.

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