Canadian miner released by Colombian rebel group

Aug. 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM

BOGOTA, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Canadian miner held hostage since January by Colombian rebels has been released, the Colombia Red Cross said.

Jernoc Wobert was recovered by representatives of the International Red Cross in the mountains of the Bolivar department near where he was originally taken prisoner, Colombia Reports said.

The head of the delegation that rescued Wobert said he will be reunited with his family soon.

He was taken hostage on Jan. 18 by the ELN, Colombia's second-largest rebel group in what the ELN called an "action in defense of national sovereignty and national resources."

The rebel group charged that Wobert's employer, the Canadian mining firm Braeval, "used deceit to snatch mining rights away from communities."

They insisted Wobert would only be released once the firm relinquished all mining titles. Braeval subsequently announced it was leaving Colombia.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made the release of Wobert a condition for joining peace talks with FARC, the country's main rebel group.

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