A German citizen held hostage for five years by Colombian FARC guerrillas has been freed, the German foreign ministry said.
Colombian troops patrolling the streets of Bogota
"I am relieved that the German government and the crisis team of the foreign ministry have managed to win the release of Mr. Lothar Hintze after years of patient work," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.
"This would not have been possible without cooperation based on trust with the Colombian government, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Catholic Church. I would like to thank all those involved for that."
He said Hintze was in safe hands and the embassy in Bogota would provide him with any additional assistance he needed.
Hintze was freed Tuesday, more than five years after being kidnapped by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in March 2001, foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told reporters.
He added that the guerrillas had never made political demands on the German government as a condition of Hintze's release.
The FARC is believed to be holding several hundred hostages, including civilians and low-ranking soldiers and police.
Many of their hostages -- such as former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped in 2002 -- have been held for years.
Steinmeier said the foreign ministry was still doing everything in its power to secure the release of two German engineers, Rene Bräunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, who were kidnapped in Iraq in January.
"Our thoughts are with the two German hostages in Iraq and with their families in Leipzig," he said.