June 23, 2017 / 7:24 PM / 2 years ago

Colombia's ELN rebels free two Dutch journalists

People protest against the kidnapping of Dutch journalists Derk Johannes Bolt and Eugenio Ernest Marie in Bogota, Colombia June 21, 2017. The banner reads: "Dutch journalists kidnapped, Liberty Now." REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s Marxist ELN rebel group said on Friday it has freed two Dutch journalists captured this week in the northeast of the Andean country.

The reporters, Derk Johannes Bolt, 62, a television journalist, and Eugenio Ernest Marie Follender, 58, a cameraman, “have been released in perfect conditions,” the group said on Twitter.

Bolt and Follender were seized in El Tarra in Norte de Santander on Monday.

The 2,000-strong ELN frequently kidnaps Colombians and foreigners, many of whom work in oil operations, for ransom and political leverage.

The ELN, the second-largest rebel group after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is in talks with the government to put an end to more than five decades of war.

FARC signed a peace deal last year and is currently demobilizing its guerillas.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in a conflict that pitted the military against the FARC, ELN and right-wing paramilitary armies.

Last year the ELN seized a Spanish journalist, freeing her six days later.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Leslie Adler

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