Arsen Levoni Voskanyan
|Arsen Levoni Voskanyan|
Armenian Captive ‘Escapes’ From Rebels In Colombia
Ապրիլ 24, 2017
Colombia’s leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) claimed on Sunday that a Russian-Armenian man has escaped from the guerilla group after disarming one of its fighters and wounding several others.
The 42-year-old man identified as Arsen Levoni Voskanyan was captured by the ELN in November while reportedly collecting poisonous frogs for sale in international markets. The ELN agreed to free him at the request of the Russian Embassy in Bogota.
According to the AFP news agency, the ELN said one of its units was transferring Voskanyan for release in Colombia's Choco Department when he took matters into his own hands.
"Mr Voskanyan Arsen Levoni disarmed a comrade and attacked the unit that was transferring him, resulting in five ELN comrades seriously wounded, and the Russo-Armenian fled, also wounded," the ELN said in a statement.
"The ELN units withdrew with their wounded and have no knowledge of the situation of the man they were transferring to be released," it added.
According to ColombiaReports.com, the area where Voskanyan escaped is one of the most dangerous jungle regions of Colombia partly controlled by the ELN and its arch-foe, the rightwing paramilitary group AGC.
Voskanyan’s Levoni patronymic cited by the Marxist rebels suggests that he is also an Armenian national. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has made no statements on his kidnapping. There are no Armenian diplomatic missions in Colombia.
The ELN became the last leftist guerrilla group active in Colombia following a peace agreement in November between the Colombian government and the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The group agreed to suspend its kidnapping operations before starting peace talks with the Colombian government in February.