Kidnap victims set free by Farc

October 1, 2004

Five students and a lecturer from the National University and the University of Antioquia who were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) have been freed.

The biologists were in Antioquia for field investigations into the region's flora and fauna.

Hostage Margarita Escobar, a lecturer, told El Colombiano newspaper: "We found out later that we were kidnapped because Farc wanted to be sure about who we really were and what we were doing in the area."

The rebel group released the hostages after four days and a 16-hour walk to freedom.

Researcher José Posada said: "I thought we would be held captive for at least a year. They usually leave you in the mountains for much longer."

The universities did not participate in negotiations for the hostages'

release. Alberto Uribe, rector of Antioquia, said at least three of the five families of the kidnapped students received ransom demands from Farc.

Argemiro Echeverri, vice-rector of the National University's Medell!n campus, said that no ransom money was paid.

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