An American miner kidnapped by South American guerrillas will be released, and he plans to continue working in Ecuador, his employer said.
Jeff Fino said he expects the guerrillas to honor their word to return Scott Heimdal of Peoria after receiving $60,000 in ransom Friday."These are people who are committed to their word," Fino said in a telephone interview from Ecuador with the Peoria Journal Star published Saturday. "To these people, kidnapping is a business, not a crime."
Fino also expects Heimdal to be back at his job.
"Scott's been telling his kidnappers that when he's released he's going back to work in the mine," said Fino, a 39-year-old Pennsylvania native who moved to Ecuador three years ago to work a gold mine.
Heimdal was taken during an April 28 ambush in an Ecuadoran jungle that left one man dead and another seriously wounded.
His family raised Heimdal's ransom through a public appeal capped by a flurry of donations in the last few days. His parents, Roy and Marge Heimdal, wired the $60,000 to a bank in Quito just before a noon Friday deadline.
Fino said the group has promised never again to harass employees of Iminco, Fino's mining company. He said they have also promised that no other guerrilla groups will harass the company's operations.
"Negotiations are proceeding well," he said. "We have excellent cooperation from many different agencies, people and organizations. We have everything we feel we need."
Although he declined to identify the U.S. agencies involved, a spokeswoman at U.S. Rep. Robert H. Michel's office said FBI and State Department officials were sent to the area. The Controlled Risk Group of London, a kidnap consulting firm that grew out of Lloyd's of London insurance company in the 1960s, has also been retained by Fino.