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In Colombia, two Canadian tourists taken hostage were released

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Two Canadian tourists held hostage since Thursday in Cali, in southern Colombia, were freed on Saturday by agents of a military anti-kidnapping unit, the army announced in a press release.

The kidnappers managed to escape during the liberation operation, according to the army, which is offering a reward for any information leading to their whereabouts.

The press release specifies that the two tourists, kidnapped from a hotel in Cali, one of the most tourist cities in Colombia, were found safe and sound and that their families have been contacted.

Between January and September, 245 kidnappings were recorded in Colombia, according to police, an increase of more than 70% compared to the same period in 2022 (142 cases).

At the end of October, the high-profile kidnapping of the father of soccer player Luiz Diaz, released after 12 days of captivity in the jungle, was the work of the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), with which the government is leading yet peace talks.

In just over half a century of armed conflict, more than 50,000 Colombians have been victims of kidnappings, according to figures from the Truth Commission.

In total, 40% of these kidnappings were committed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which signed a peace agreement in 2016, and 24% by far-right paramilitary groups.

Extortion and ransoms are, along with drug trafficking, the sources of financing for these armed rebel groups.

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