Colombian rebels release four oil workers
LONDON -- Four Chinese oil workers employed by a British company have been freed in the southern jungles where they were kidnapped 17 months ago.
China’s ambassador said no ransom was ever sought for the men, three contractors and a translator.
They were the only foreigners known to still be held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Their release to the International Red Cross comes three days after the FARC and Colombia’s government began peace talks in Cuba that were partially conditioned on the rebels halting extortive kidnapping.
But Colombia’s defense minister called the rebels “mendacious and traitorous” for having claimed in September to no longer hold kidnap victims.
The FARC has been fighting successive Colombian governments for 50 years and has used kidnapping for political leverage and as a financing source, at one point holding three US military contractors as well as several dozen prominent Colombian politicians.