Colombian rebels free captured helicopter crew

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-04 09:04:16|Editor: Li Xia
Video PlayerClose

BOGOTA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group on Sunday released a three-member helicopter crew that was captured in January.

The three men were handed over to a humanitarian commission in northern Norte de Santander department, where rebels had shot their helicopter down on Jan. 11.

Days later, the ELN had claimed responsibility for downing the aircraft belonging to the security company Brinks and seizing 550,000 U.S. dollars in cash they found on board.

The commission, organized by the Catholic Church, posted photos of the released crew on social networks. The men, who appeared to be in good condition, were to be reunited with their families later in the day after getting medical checkups.

Colombia's current President Ivan Duque has abandoned peace talks with the ELN that were started by his predecessor Juan Manuel Santos, saying his government does not want to negotiate with active fighters.

Santos won a Nobel peace prize for securing a peace agreement with what was the country's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has since transformed itself into a political party.

In January, a car bomb exploded at a police academy in Bogota, killing 20 cadets and injuring another 60. The ELN later claimed responsibility for the attack.