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German escapes Colombian rebels



BOGOTA, Colombia -- A German aid worker being held hostage in Colombia has escaped his captors.

Thomas Kuenzel escaped during the confusion caused by a military offensive and was taken to the city of Popayan by Colombian soliders, an army statement added.

He was kidnapped with his brother Ulrich and fellow German government aid agency worker Reiner Bruchmann in Cauca province, southwestern Colombia, on July 18.

A statement issued by the army said: "Thanks to the pressure exerted by the troops, German citizen Thomas Kuenzel fled his captors and was rescued by Third Brigade soldiers."

No further details of Kuenzel's escape from the rebels were released by the army.

But German officials in Popayan, 240 miles southwest of the capital Bogota, said Kuenzel appeared to be in relatively good condition after his time in the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- a Marxist group known by the Spanish initials FARC.

Kuenzel has indicated that the two still in captivity were also in good health given their circumstances, German embassy spokesman Herbert Behrendt told the Reuters news agency

"We are awaiting the results of a further debriefing," Behrendt said. "We demand the freedom of the other two," he said. Separately, an army official said it seemed a U.S. citizen captured by another rebel army in the northern province of Santander might have been killed.

Law enforcement agencies were investigating if a corpse found buried in a small Santander town was that of the unidentified American.






RELATED SITES:
• Republica de Colombia
• German Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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