Kidnapped Spanish reporter released by captors in Colombia
Salud Hernández-Mora freed on Friday evening along with two other journalists held by ELN guerrillas
A Spanish journalist held by a Colombian guerrilla group for five days was released on Friday afternoon local time.
Salud Hernández-Mora, a correspondent for Spanish daily El Mundo, was handed over by the left wing National Liberation Army (ELN) to a humanitarian mission located between the municipalities of Teorama and San Calixto, near the border with Venezuela.
Diego D’Pablos and Carlos Melo, two Colombian journalists who were also kidnapped on Monday, were let go just hours later in the same spot.
I can only say that this region has more wonderful things than bad things. In many parts of Colombia, people think that this is a hornet’s nest. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know Catatumbo many times. Unfortunately, on this occasion I was kidnapped
Salud Hernández-Mora, reporter
“I thank everyone who prayed for me and who was there with me. I am perfectly fine,” said Hernández-Mora in radio statements. “There is no problem. Particular thanks go out to the Catholic Church and to the Ombudsman’s Office.”
In an improvised press conference, the reporter explained the circumstances of her kidnapping a week ago.
She said that she was in the town of El Tarra when some men came up to her and confiscated her work equipment.
“Later a motorcycle showed up because they were going to return my things and grant me an interview,” she said. The driver took her to an area in the Catatumbo region known as Buenos Aires, home to coca plantations that Hernández-Mora was writing a story about.
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“Then the guerrillas showed up and told me that I was going to stay with them for a few days; they brought me clothes and since then I’ve been moving from place to place.”
The reporter added that she only slept twice in the same spot. “During the day I did nothing save look up at the ceiling or the sky,” she said. “I was reckless, but I think that a journalist has to be – otherwise we wouldn’t get 70% of our stories.”
She also had praise for the people of the Catatumbo region, which is largely under the control of guerrilla groups and organized crime gangs.
“I can only say that this region has more wonderful things than bad things. In many parts of Colombia, people think that this is a hornet’s nest. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know Catatumbo many times. Unfortunately, on this occasion I was kidnapped.”
English version by Susana Urra.