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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 22:56 GMT
Colombia group 'to free hostages'
Hostage shown on ELN video
The rebels released a video of the hostages in October
Leftist guerrillas in Colombia have said they will release two of seven foreign tourists seized two months ago.

The rebels said they would free Asier Huegun of Spain and Reinhilt Weigel of Germany on Monday.

They made no mention of the five remaining hostages, Briton Mark Henderson and four Israelis.

Last month the rebels - of the National Liberation Army (ELN) - released a video of the hostages, threatening to kill them if a rescue was attempted.

The Colombian Government, helped by Roman Catholic Church mediators, has been trying to negotiate the release of the hostages for weeks.

Earlier negotiations stalled over the rebels' refusal to release all the hostages at once

HOSTAGES HELD
Israelis Beni Daniel, Ortaz Ohayon, Ido Joseph Guy, and Erez Altawil
Spaniard Asier Huegun
Briton Mark Henderson
German Reinhilt Weigel
Another Briton, Matthew Scott, was abducted with the others on 12 September but escaped from the rebels soon after the kidnapping.

The hostage-takers are demanding an investigation into what they call the oppression of indigenous people by right-wing paramilitaries in the area.

Last month the rebels released a video of the hostages, threatening to kill them if a rescue was attempted.

The British, German and Spanish hostages complained of hunger and urged the Colombian Government to help secure their release.

The four Israelis did not speak but were seen playing cards.

The seven backpackers were seized near ruins in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The ELN is Colombia's second-largest rebel group after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).


SEE ALSO:
Colombia hostages shown on video
12 Nov 03  |  Americas
Colombia hostage talks deadlocked
31 Oct 03  |  Americas
Colombia rebels may free Spaniard
20 Oct 03  |  Americas
Priests' mission fails in Colombia
16 Oct 03  |  Americas
Father talks of kidnapped son
16 Sep 03  |  North Yorkshire
Country profile: Colombia
12 Jul 03  |  Country profiles


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