Abducted Chinese workers in Colombia freed | Connect Asia

Abducted Chinese workers in Colombia freed

Abducted Chinese workers in Colombia freed

Updated 23 November 2012, 16:46 AEDT

Four Chinese nationals abducted in Colombia's Caqueta province for almost a year and a half, have been released.

Nothing had been known about the fate of the Chinese workers since their capture last June.

An unidentified group yesterday handed the Chinese nationals over to the International Red Cross.

Correspondent: Delnaaz Irani

Speaker: Pascal Jequier, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Bogota

JEQUIER: These people well disappear more than one year ago, 15 months ago, we had absolutely no news of them and yesterday, we were waiting from them the whole day long and in when it's very late, they finally came out at night and they were given to us by unidentified men in rural area on San Vincente del Caguan, and we drive during three, four hours and we arrive at midnight in the city, where they spent the night and then from there, there was an air plane who brought them to Bogota.

IRANI: From what we understand, it was the Revolutionary Armed force of Colombia or FARC, that were behind this. Do we know the motives for the abduction?
JEQUIER: We have absolutely no clue about the reason of the abduction. For us, a humanitarian organisation, we what is important is, of course, to bring back these people to the family and we are not really in position to know who who they were, who are their abductor, which condition. We were just called to come to a certain place, in certain moment, and a group of persons all in civil clothes brought us these four Chinese workers.
IRANI: What conditions were the Chinese nationals in?
JEQUIER: They were relatively good, but one of them have a problem of mobility, some problem in spine probably and, of course, they've been affected for their very long months of retention. They have been 15 months in the jungle, so clearly there is some affect and also from psychological aspect, they probably need some support.
IRANI: Were they able to communicate with you what their needs were, any medical needs or what conditions they were kept in?
JEQUIER: Not much because there is truth is three of them do not speak any Spanish or English and one of them was a translator, but yes, we communicated a little bit, but let's say, we're not really able to have a full health control and they  are now in Bogota. They are having a medical checkup and if their condition are good enough, they will fly tomorrow back to China.
IRANI: Mr. Jequier, do you know anything about how their release came about, was the ransom paid?
JEQUIER: We've absolutely no idea about it and we are not involved in any matter. We just a humanitarian organisation working in Colombia for quite a long time and we facilitate very often this kind of release. This year, we have released 29 persons in similar consequences, and since '94, we have released 1,500, more than 1,500 persons.  So for us , we are regularly requested to intervene in these condition. We just make it the release safe. We deal with the authorities in Colombia, we deal with the military, that the area will be safe, in full transparency. Everybody is informed and we just do our job.
IRANI: So would you say cases like this are common in Colombia?
JEQUIER: Yes, of course. In Colombia, it's a well known country where a lot of people have been detained for quite a long time, some of them are civilian, some of them are from military or police background in Colombia and we have been always involved for a very long time in this kind of operation.

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