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Ecuador: Orlando Ibarra Escapes After Two Years of Captivity

Categories: Latin America, Ecuador, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Human Rights

Orlando Ibarra, a 39 year old Ecuadorian businessman, was reunited [1] with his loved ones on Monday, September 10 in a military base in Quito, Ecuador, after 766 days in captivity in Colombia.

Prior to his kidnapping, Ibarra was a manager [2] [es] at Transcomerinter, a transportation company that operates in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Ibarra was kidnapped on August 2, 2010 at the Transcomerinter offices in Ipiales, Colombia.

The newspaper El Comercio reports [3] [es] on the difficult scenes that Ibarra recounted upon his arrival in Bogotá, Colombia:

“Pasé en cautiverio, privado de la libertad, y vi toda la injusticia que cometen los señores del Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) contra los campesinos. Porque es una injusticia que resulta muy lastimera al verla. Me siento triste y muy apenado (por esto). Y, a la vez, ahora estoy muy feliz porque Dios siempre estuvo conmigo. El secuestro se produjo en el Municipio de Ipiales. Ocurrió en la oficina del trabajo. Llegaron unos cuatro o cinco encapuchados y se dio una emboscada. Fue cuestión de segundos. Tengo entendido que ellos pedían dinero.”

“I was in captivity, denied of freedom, and I saw all of the injustices that the men of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional / ELN) carry out against rural people. It is an injustice that is very sad to see. I feel sad, it is a disgraceful thing to witness. At the same time, now I am very happy because God was always with me. The kidnapping happened in the Municipality of Ipiales. It happened at my workplace. Some four or five hooded men showed up and ambushed me. It was a matter of seconds, I understand that they were asking for money.”

According to reports [4][es] from the police, his father was murdered on January 31, 2012 in the same city, while he was apparently negotiating his son's rescue.

The Colombian Army explained that the rescue [5]was made possible after a guerrilla member from the National Liberation Army [6] accepted an offer to negotiate in order to facilitate the Ecuadorian's escape. Orlando Ibarra and the rebel, whose identity has not been released, walked [7] [es] for four hours until they found the soldiers.


High emotions upon being reunited with his family during his arrival at Quito after more than two years of captivity. Photo shared by Twitter user Ana María Cañizares (@anniecanizares)

The Ecuadorian National Police (@PoliciaEcuador) [9] [es] wrote on Twitter:

@PoliciaEcuador [10]: Gracias a trabajo coordinado por varias instituciones del Estado ecuatoriano se logró la liberación de Orlando Ibarra pic.twitter.com/tZLkyACd [11]

@PoliciaEcuador [10]: Thanks to all the work that was coordinated by various institutions of the Ecuadorian state, we have been able to free Orlando Ibarra pic.twitter.com/tZLkyACd [11]

Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Patiño (@RicardoPatinoEC [12]) [es] expressed the country's happiness:

@RicardoPatinoEC [13]: @KtyLs [14] En nombre del Presidente Rafael Correa y gobierno nacional, un gran abrazo a familia del Sr. Orlando Ibarra. Compartimos su felicidad

@RicardoPatinoEC [13]: @KtyLs [14] In the name of President Rafael Correa, and the country's government, a hearty embrace to the family of Mr. Orlando Ibarra. We share in your joy.

@RicardoPatinoEC [15]: Canciller Colombiana Ma. Angela Holguín me informa que trasladan a Orlando Ibarra para entregarlo a autoridades ecuatorianas. Qué felicidad.

@RicardoPatinoEC [15]: Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Ángela Holguín has informed me that they are transferring Orlando Ibarra so that he can be delivered safely to the Ecuadorian authorities. What good news.

Meanwhile, journalist María Fernanda (@MaferSuasnavas [16]) [es] reported:

@MaferSuasnavas [16]: Orlando Ibarra se reencuentra con sus familiares, un momento emotivo tras 2 años de cautiverio en poder de ELN pic.twitter.com/kUINf51z [17]

@MaferSuasnavas [16]: Orlando Ibarra is reunited with his relatives, an emotional moment after two years of captivity in the hands of the ELN pic.twitter.com/kUINf51z [17]

Just like other Ecuadoreans, Luis Arguello Verdugo (@lu_is_paz [18]) [es] and Esteban Bolaños (@muscaria81 [19]) [es] expresed their immense happiness for the freeing of Ibarra:

@lu_is_paz [20]: Sorprendido y emocionado con la liberación de Orlando Ibarra después de 2 años de estar secuestrado por guerrilleros. Pasó encadenado 2 años

@lu_is_paz [20]: Surprised and elated with the freeing of Orlando Ibarra after 2 years of being kidnapped by guerrilla rebels. He was in chains for two years.

@muscaria81 [21]: Q alegría leer la liberación de mi coterraneo Orlando Ibarra. Tulcan te espera @elcomerciocom [22] pic.twitter.com/tcjh0NHz [23]

@muscaria81 [21]: How wonderful to read about the freeing of my compatriot Orlando Ibarra. Tulcan [24] awaits you. @elcomerciocom [22] pic.twitter.com/tcjh0NHz [23]