Colombian rebels who belong to the National Liberation Army (ELN) released on Tuesday Canadian mining executive Gernot Wober after 221 days in captivity.
Mr Wober was turned over by the ELN to a Red Cross delegation in an isolated clearing in northern Colombia and was immediately flown to Bogota by helicopter and plane.
Archbishop Dario de Jesus Monsalve, a member of the Red Cross delegation, described the Canadian executive as looking good and excited about regaining his freedom despite sufferings in the hands of the ELN.
He was used as a bargaining chip in the long battle for control over mining rights between the leftist guerillas and the Colombian government. Mr Wober is vice president of exploration of Braeval Mining, a junion Canadian miner.
His release opens the door for ELN, the second-largest guerilla group in Colombia, to the negotiating table with the government. The talks, being held in Havana, Cuba, is between government negotiators and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the biggest rebel group which had in the past also kidnapped prominent people. While the ELN was open to holding similar peace talks with the government, President Juan Manuel Santos insisted it would not go to the negotiating table with Mr Wober in the hands of the ELN.
The mining executive was abducted on Jan 18, together with three Colombian and two Peruvian geologists in Norosi, a region in northern Colombia known for its gold deposits. The five geologists were released in February, but ELN held on to Mr Wober and offered in April his freedom if Braeval would hand over four mining titles under the company's Snow Mine project to local miners.
While Braeval said in July that it would abandon Snow Mine and ELN promised to free Mr Wober, it took almost two more months before he was finally freed.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said the 47-year-old Mr Wober would soon return to Canada.
"Gernot does have a wife and a young child and we have every expectation that they want to be united as quickly as possible," CTV News quoted Chris Eby, spokesman of Braeval.