EOS Alerts 21-6-2017
Colombia: Two Dutch Journalists Kidnapped in Catatumbo
Suspected ELN rebels kidnap two Dutch journalists
On 20 June, two Dutch journalists were reported as having been kidnapped in an area near to the Venezuelan border in Catatumbo. Several armed groups are known to operate in the region, including the left-wing ELN. Last year the ELN rebel group kidnapped a Spanish journalist and several Colombians in the same area. The Colombian military have said that they have sent special forces to the region to search for the missing journalists.
Peace negotiations began with the ELN in February and they are set to continue in Ecuador next month. The government has demanded that the ELN stop kidnapping people for financial gain, which they frequently do. The talks with the group follow a peace agreement between the government and Colombia's largest rebel group, the FARC, last year.
Those operating or residing in Colombia are advised to contract a local reliable guide when travelling in rural areas, due to the credible threat of kidnapping and violence. Vary your itineraries and avoid government personnel when travelling in Choco Department, as clashes between ELN rebels and other criminal groups are likely to continue in the near and medium term.