Updated 01:48 AM EST, Fri, Nov 15, 2019

Colombia Army Rescues Fishermen Abducted by National Liberation Army

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In a bold rescue operation, the Colombian army was able to successfully retrieve 15 fishermen, including three minors on Sunday. The men were abducted by the National Liberation Army earlier during the weekend, according to FOX News Latino.

In an announcement through Twitter, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his gratitude to the armed forces for their successful rescue operation. The president, however, stated that the battle with the rebel group is far from over and that efforts must be placed in apprehending those who were responsible for the abduction.

"Fishermen taken by the ELN for supposed punishment rescued. Congratulations to Colombia's army, now to get those responsible," he said in his post.

The president, however, did not give further details about the government's further course of action.

KSL News, quoting Colombian media, has stated that the ELN apprehended the fishermen due to their alleged violation of a fishing ban in Bolivar state. The area where the fishermen were targeted has been known as a stronghold of the National Liberation Army, as well as other smaller insurgent groups.

After being abducted, the guerillas took the fishermen to Campo Cafe, which is located about two hours away from Morales. Though media reports surfaced quickly after the abduction took place, the incident was officially confirmed on Saturday. Eventually, the fishermen's location was positively identified by the Colombian army through intelligence work.

The operation to retrieve the abducted fishermen was initiated early Sunday, with about 200 members of Colombia's special forces unit launching an airborne assault against the ENL rebels. The rescue operation was announced by Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas as he addressed reporters in Aguachica, in Cesar department, reports the Associated Press through Yahoo! News.

The Defense Minister confirmed the success of the military operation, stating that the ELN insurgents did not attempt much resistance. Rather, the 12 rebels who were guarding the fishermen immediately left the scene upon seeing the arrival of the army forces.

"(The ELN) fled the place, and our troops were able to successfully carry out the rescue," Villegas said.

The 15 fishermen who were successfully rescued were all found to be in good health.

The National Liberation Army, which is a very prominent military force in the Morales department, is currently under peace negotiations with the Colombian government. However, since the talks commenced back in January 2014, the two sides have remained in a stalemate, with very little progress being made.

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