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Kidnapped Colombian bishop freed by soldiers

Colombian soldiers freed the kidnapped Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez, president of the Latin American bishops' conference (CELAM), on Friday after a fight with rebels who were holding them.

Fr Desiderio Orjuela was also freed. Both were unharmed, government officials said. One rebel was killed and another captured.

"It is a great success for the army," Defence Minister Martha Lucia Ramirez said. "I think this is happy news for the country."

She said tips from residents in the village of El Penol, north of Bogota, led to the rescue. She added that the bishop and priest appeared to be in good condition, but were being taken for medical examinations as a precaution.

Earlier this year, Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino of Cali was murder after performing a wedding in that city. Officials are still investigating the killing, but left-wing Marxist groups are top suspects.

Catholic World News

Colombian Bishop Describes Kidnap (AP)
Kidnapped Colombian bishop, priest rescued by military (Catholic News Service)
Colombia: CELAM President and Priest Rescued
Columbian Church Fights National Scourge of Kidnappings
Latin American church leaders seek contact with bishop's captors (14/11/02)
Pope urges release of kidnapped bishop (13/11/02)

18 Nov 2002