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Colombian kidnappers free worker

A British oil worker has been freed after being held by kidnappers for two years in Colombia.

A British oil worker has been freed after being held by kidnappers for two years in Colombia.

Alistair Taylor was said to be tired but in good spirits after arriving in Bogotб, the Colombian capital, on Friday. He was reunited with his brother and is shortly expected to return to Britain.

Mr Taylor, 47, was working in Colombia for Weatherford, the US oilfield services company, when he was kidnapped in August 1999. His kidnappers later identified themselves as members of of the National Liberation Army (ELN), a Cuban-inspired leftwing insurgent movement active in Colombia since the 1960s.

Colombia is notorious for its incidence of kidnappings, the highest in the world. Many are carried out by rebel groups to raise money through demanding ransoms.

It is unclear exactly what circumstances surrounded Mr Taylor's release but a statement from the British embassy in Colombia said he was "handed over to negotiators" on Thursday in Arauca province, near Colombia's border with Venezuela. He had been kidnapped in the oil town of Yopal 100km to the south.

Jeremy Thorp, the UK's ambassador in Colombia, called for an unconditional release of all hostages by Colombia's guerrilla groups.

Mr Thorp said: "We are all delighted Alistair is now safe and well. He was obviously tired and had lost weight but he was in great spirits and anxious to be reunited with the rest of his family."

news.ft.com