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Swede Freed From Captivity By Columbian Guerillas

Published onsdag 18 mars 2009 kl 10.34
Erik Roland Larsson is freed from captivity

A Swedish man held captive for nearly two years by Columbia’s FARC guerillas has been released. 69 year old Eric Roland Larsson is recovering in a hospital in Bogota where he’s said to be partially paralyzed after his ordeal.

The Swede, who was kidnapped by six gunmen from his farm in an extortion attempt, was the last foreign hostage to be held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia or FARC.

Pictures from Columbia’s DAS state security agency showed Larsson being lifted from a canoe and then, unable to walk, carried across rugged terrain by police after he was handed over by guerillas.

”He is in a delicate state of health and at this moment is being evaluated by a medical team in the city of Monteria. He will later be transferred to Bogota,” the DAS said in a statement.

Larsson had worked on a hydroelectric project in the north of Columbia before settling in the area. DAS said that FARC, Columbia’s largest rebel group, had demanded a ransom of five million US dollars. In February, the guerillas, who’ve been hit by a tough government crackdown, released six political hostages.

Eric Roland Larsson’s son, Tommy Larsson, had spoken to his father on the telephone and said he expects him to be flown home to Sweden next week.

”For us, it’s obviously a very happy day,” Tommy Stromberg from the Swedish Embassy told the AP news agency.

Stromberg said he did not know if a ransom was paid to FARC, but that Swedish police had worked closely with the DAS on the case.

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