AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Safe and sound Catholic Bishop of Yopal Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez, released after four days captivity by ELN

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Bogota (Fides Service) - Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez of Yopal, Casanare region, was released yesterday 27 July after being kept hostage for four days. The Bishop was taken prisoner by members of the ELN rebel group while making a pastoral visit to Morcote. He was released in the evening of 27 July in same place between Casanare and Boyacà. He walked for three hours before reaching the Bishop of Trinidad Javier Pizarro. Later he returned to his residence in Yopal by helicopter. In a first public statement, Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez said he had been treated well, that he was in good health and he thanked all those who worked for his release, first of all Pope John Paul II who voiced an appeal to the captors, and to the whole Church in Colombia. A medical examination found the Bishop tired but in good health. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 28/7/2004 - Righe 9, Parole 136)