Colombia: FARC guerrillas release seven journalists

New York, November 15, 1999 — On Sunday, November 14, the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released the last of seven journalists they had kidnapped on Wednesday, November 10. The journalists were on their way to cover a right-wing paramilitary attack in Atánquez, in the northern department of Cesar.

Five of the seven journalists were freed on Friday, November 12. They reached Valledupar, Cesar, by 9:30 p.m. under the escort of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Those released were:

  • David Sierra Daza of RCN Televisión network;
  • Pablo Camargo Alí, correspondent with the television news program 24 Horasand reporter with the Valledupar daily El Pilón;
  • Isbel Ballesteros, cameraman for RCN Televisión;
  • Libar Gregorio Maestre, cameraman for CM& television news;
  • Edgar de la Hoz, photographer with the Bucaramanga daily, Vanguardia Liberal.

At one a.m. on November 14, FARC freed the remaining two journalists, reporter José Urbano Céspedes and cameraman Aldemar Cárdenas of Caracol Televisión.

CPJ is relieved that all the journalists have been released, but continues to be outraged at the use of hostage-taking as a mechanism for manipulating the press in Colombia.

For more information contact CPJ Americas program coordinator Marylene Smeets at 212.465.9344 ext.120.