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Rebels release Lithuanian hostage

  • 2000-09-28
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - Colombian rebels on Sept. 20 released Lithuanian Vladimir Molodcov and Russian Vladimir Larin who were held as hostages for a week. No ransom was paid for the kidnapped men, according to officials from the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. It refuses to disclose details of the operation.

Both men were kidnapped Sept. 13 in northwestern Colombia, where they were working on the construction of a hydroelectric power station. They worked for SHEM-de Columbia, the branch of the Lithuanian firm Baltic SHEM. They were kidnapped by the radical leftist organization the National Liberation Army.

"The hostages were released because of the active work of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. We share this achievement with the Russian Foreign Ministry, which co-operated with us closely. The Baltic SHEM and Colombian authorities co-operated with us too," said Petras Zapolskas, director of the Information and Culture Department of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.

He refused to disclose any details of negotiations with Colombian rebels. Samuil Oserovski, general director of Baltic SHEM, said that the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry showed "the highest level of professionalism in dealing with this case." He also refused to disclose details of the freeing of the two men.

Both former hostages are ready to continue to work in Colombia. The Colombian army has sent more troops to guard the construction site of the hydroelectric power station.

Molodcov told the television station LNK that the rebels were rather polite but not talkative.

Rebels handed over both hostages to a Catholic priest according to the newspaper Lietuvos Rytas.

Molodcov is now taking care of his wife who lives with him in Colombia. She had health problems due to the shock of the disappearance of her husband.