“You have no idea what it is to be in the hands of those gentlemen. The first day in captivity was a nightmare, I slept on the middle of a board and I had the cap as a pillow; I was in a very dirty house under reconstruction where they took me by mule and we arrived around 10:00 at night.
But the second day was worse, there was a dirty cement wheelbarrow I had to use to sit on. Then at 6:00 in the afternoon we left on a mule to make the journey to the place where they were going to keep me. I was turned to nothing, I couldn’t even lift my legs, I sat on a stone where they themselves held me so that I wouldn’t fall while they looked for another mule with which we started the journey again.
They mounted me and we followed the route to a certain place because I didn’t know where we were going. And I had no time, I had nothing, the only thing mine is just these pants I’m wearing. At 12:00 midnight, or maybe later, it was time to get on a motorbike and in the middle of a heavy downpour we kept going until we reached a secluded place where I lived through the worst days of my life. Today was a great day, I was born again. I implore the cessation of violence and kidnapping as the cruelest humiliation that a human being can experience.
This is how the rancher Heriberto Urbina Lacouture narrated, at the moment he arrived at his place of residence in the municipality of Chiriguaná, Cesar, after being released last Tuesday night in Norte de Santander.
Relatives, friends and neighbors welcomed him with applause, and among those present, “Welcome to your patron home” was heard. He immediately got confused between the hugs of his wife and those close to him. Urbina looked bearded, wearing a long-sleeved black shirt, cap, and the same gray pants that she was wearing on the day of the abduction, on April 24 in the municipality of Curumaní, when she went to one of her properties.
His search was always oriented towards the North of Santander, specifically in Catatumbo, where he was precisely handed over to one of his children, in the Honduras village of this town.
The rancher and businessman was reportedly kidnapped by the National Liberation Army, ELN; However, Eduardo Esquivel, Secretary of Government of Cesar, did not confirm it, since they are in the investigation stage. What the official did say is that it was not necessary to pay the reward of 50 million pesos and he does not know if his relatives negotiated with the captors.
The humanitarian mission, led by the Ombudsman’s Office and the Catholic Church, reached the Catatumbo region, to put an end to the nightmare that lasted for more than a month and a half.
Urbina could have been the oldest person in captivity in the world, which clearly constituted a clear violation of his rights and a flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law.
“We welcome Mr. Urbina’s return to freedom and the fact that he can return to his home, safe and sound, after he was handed over to the humanitarian mission in the Catatumbo region,” said the Ombudsman. , Carlos Camargo Assis.
The Ombudsman’s Office will keep its humanitarian channels open and its teams available in all the territories of the national geography so that all persons deprived of their liberty by groups outside the law in Colombia can return, also with their integrity safeguarded, to their homes and daily activities.
HIS HEALTH IS STABLE
Heriberto Urbina, son of the businessman, reiterated that his father is in good health, just a little tired and overwhelmed by the difficult situation experienced. “Dr. Carlos Camargo provided everything for contact with the group that had my father.” The Ombudsman’s Office was the main mediator between the family and the illegal armed group, who finally guaranteed the reunion with his father at the end of the afternoon of June 6.
He is quite well, despite the fact that he had health problems during captivity, according to what his father told him, since he suffered a severe fall and at times could not get out of bed. He also experienced episodes of depression during the first days of the kidnapping, since he thought that he would never get out of that nightmare.
“It seems that at first there was some mistreatment, then they improved the treatment. The anguish experienced by the relatives was very great, since we did not know if they were treating him well and providing medical treatment; We also felt kidnapped as a family, it hit us quite hard, the anxiety, the issue of going through negotiations with some threats, ”he said.
The Secretary of Departmental Government, Eduardo Esquivel, stated that: “for the Governorate it is a joy that Don Heriberto Urbina is now free, we need him healthy and at home.”
Yesterday at 2:00 in the afternoon a security council would be held with representatives of the public force to analyze the conditions in which the rancher was released, but also to establish strategies to guarantee security in the south of Cesar .