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Colombia Hostage 2- WRAP Rebels free 69-year-old Swedish hostage held since 2007 ADDS release
Posted on: 18-03-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

Leftist rebels on Tuesday freed the last known foreign hostage held in Colombia, an ailing 69-year-old Swede kidnapped nearly two years ago from the ranch where he'd retired.

Erik Roland Larsson, paralyzed down one half of his body, was handed over to detectives in a rugged region of the northern state of Cordoba, the head of the DAS state security agency, Felipe Munoz, told The Associated Press.

Munoz said various Swedish non-governmental organisations had sought Larsson's freedom.

Sweden's Ambassador to Colombia, Lena Nordstrom, referred to Larsson as the only Swedish citizen held hostage in the wold. Nordstrom said she was very happy Larsson had been released.

Nordstrom said he did not know if a ransom was paid to Larsson's captors, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, but that Swedish police had worked closely with the DAS on the case.

The FARC had sought a 5 million (m) US dollar ransom, according to the DAS, which said Larsson was being examined by doctors in the nearby city of Monteria and would later be flown to Bogota.

Larsson was kidnapped from his ranch, not far from where he was freed, on May 16, 2007, along with his Colombian wife. She escaped that same month following a gun battle between her captors and police.

Larsson retired in Colombia after working for Skanska AB in construction, and named his ranch "Cielito Lindo," Spanish for Pretty Little Sky.

Larsson's son Tommy, who lives in Sweden, told the AP in February that he'd recently received a proof-of-life video but no ransom demand.

"A doctor saw the video and it appears that he had suffered from a stroke. His right arm, leg and parts of his face are paralyzed," Tommy Larsson said then. "Daddy is old and sick. He has lost weight. He looks weak."

Larsson became Colombia

 
 

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