AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "Accompany dialogue with ELN": the Church for peace and for the release of the hostages

Monday, 2 May 2016 politics   armed groups   episcopal conferences   local churches  

Rionegro (Agenzia Fides) - "We received the request not to be guarantors, but to accompany, so we will be present to moderate the talks, we hope this helps to make them more effective and bring us towards peace as soon as possible": this is how His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, IMC, Archbishop of Tunja and President of the Episcopal Conference, commented the request sent to the Colombian Church by ELN.
According to information sent to Fides, this is what the Archbishop said at the end of his speech at the forum on the Post Conflict "Impactos Sociales y Empresariales", held in Rionegro at the end of last week, which was attended by several authorities of the local and national government as well as diplomats of the countries that have volunteered as mediators for peace among the guerrilla groups and the Colombian government.
Mgr. Castro Quiroga also urged ELN to "free all hostages and not to ask a penny", noting that it is one of the government's conditions for starting talks with ELN. Unfortunately yesterday ELN claimed that Melisa Trillos and a farmer representative Henry Perez are not their hostages, and this has caused further concern in their respective families, who have no information on their health status.
Following this update, His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Angel Villa Vahos, Bishop of Ocaña, yesterday publicly asked the release of Melisa Trillos, a lawyer, kidnapped two weeks ago. The Bishop asked the kidnappers to give proof that Melisa is alive and to respect her life, in the hope that she will soon return to her family. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 02/05/2016)