Two Britons Returning Home after Colombia Kidnap Ordeal

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Two Britons who had been feared dead after disappearing nine months ago while trekking in Colombia were flying to London Thursday after being released by a group they said had kidnapped them. 

Paul Winder, 29, and Hart Dyke, 24, said they were seized by the armed group on March 16 while searching for rare orchids in the jungle of north Colombia. 

Dyke is a horticulturist who has spent the two last years travelling across the world hunting for the rare flowers. 

Paul Winder, who works for the Salomon Brothers Bank in London, took a six-month sabbatical to accompany him to Colombia. 

The two men said they did not know why they had been seized. Their kidnappers did not mistreat them and they were freed without explanation on December 10 in a remote spot in the equatorial forest. 

They walked for eight days before flagging down a park ranger to make contact with British officials. 

Jeremy Thorp, the British ambassador in Bogota, the Colombian capital, said no group had contacted him with a ransom demand, the British press reported. 

Winder and Dyke briefly spoke to the media before leaving for London. "All we want is to get home for Christmas," they told Sky News. 

The parents of the two had traveled to Colombia and Panama several months ago to try to find their sons, but without success. 

The last their families heard of them was that they were heading out on a trek from Yaviza in Panama to the infamous Darien Gap, a roadless region on the border with Colombia inhabited by Indian tribes, leftist Colombian rebels and right-wing Colombian paramilitary forces -- LONDON (AFP) 



© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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