Kidnapped oil workers released in Colombia
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Last Updated: Monday, August 01, 2011, 22:34
Bogota: Five kidnapped Colombian employees of the US oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corporation were released after several days in captivity, a top military regional commander said on Moday.

The workers were abducted Friday in Arauca province, in far eastern Colombia, and soldiers found them in a rural area of the province around 7 pm (2400 GMT) yesterday, said Army General Jaime Reyes, responsible for security in the area.

The workers were checked by military doctors in the city of Arauca then released, Reyes told local media.

Reyes blamed leftist guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the kidnapping.

The FARC, which has been at war with the Colombian government since 1964, is the country's oldest and largest leftist group, with an estimated 8,000 combatants.

Police and soldiers are still looking for four Chinese workers, three engineers and a translator, from Emerald Energy, British subsidiary of Chinese chemical giant Sinochem, who were kidnapped in the southern Caqueta province on June 8.

The Chinese workers have not been found despite a vast army search operation and a reward of up to 500 million pesos (about USD 285,000) for information leading to the arrest of a FARC rebel known as Claudia, blamed for their abduction.

Last year, 282 people were kidnapped in the South American country, a 32 percent increase compared to the previous year, according to official figures.

In March, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos warned multinational companies they would be kicked out of the country if they paid ransoms to rebel groups or other criminal gangs that have kidnapped their employees.


First Published: Monday, August 01, 2011, 22:34

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