Kidnapped oil workers released in Colombia

Last Updated: Monday, August 1, 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.

PTI



First Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 - 22:34

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