Three Ecuadorean journalists kidnapped on the Colombian border last week are alive and "doing well," Ecuador’s Interior Minister Cesar Navas said on Saturday.
Ecuador FM: Colombia Must Help Return Journalist Hostages
"Today we have some information to share with them (relatives) and certain addresses that are important that they know," Navas told a press conference.
"Since yesterday we knew they were well and the situation is stable, which is what that we wanted in the first instance: to stabilize the situation."
A closed-door meeting was held with relatives of the kidnapped El Comercio editor, photographer and driver to discuss the ongoing negotiations between federal officials and former guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
"What we want is that our three citizens return and return soon and well to our country," said Navas.
Following the meeting, family members of the journalists said they will reveal the identities of their kidnapped relatives, an EFE report said. "The families have made a decision: tomorrow we will have a meeting in the southern gallery (in Quito) and we will announce the names of our relatives," said the spokesman, who is the son of one of the journalists being held captive.
The announcement will be made in a press conference at Tribuna del Sur, on Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. local time.
According to the report, the spokesperson for the families extended gratitude to everyone who has joined daily vigils, adding: "We are waiting for the exchange of information and see that everything comes to a happy conclusion as soon as possible," he said before making a request to "the people who have our relatives."
Ecuador: Journalists Hold Vigil for Safe Return of Kidnapped Colleagues
Earlier this week, military and police representatives of Colombia and Ecuador met to strengthen their presence along the border. It followed a joint statement by Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos committing to "deepen immediate cooperation between the security and defense organisms."
The alleged kidnapping followed an attack on a water tanker on Monday; a deadly bomb attack on border patrol soldiers on March 20 in which three soldiers were killed; a bombing on a military base on March 16, and the attack on a police command in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas on January 27.
The media operatives were taken the same day a bomb went off along a Mataje highway in Ecuador, damaging a military vehicle. Just days prior, a bomb detonated along the same highway, killing three Ecuadorean soldiers and injuring several other military personnel.
Several Ecuadorean journalists arrived outside the Colombian embassy in Quito to present a letter signed by 386 journalist-activists, asking Ecuadorean authorities to do whatever they can to bring their colleagues home safely.