Bogota: A soldier who went missing last Friday after a clash with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas was kidnapped by the rebels, the Colombian army announced Monday.
The kidnapped soldier was identified as Carlos Becerra Ojeda, whose "immediate release and the preservation of his physical and moral integrity" was demanded by the army in a communique.
The clash occurred in Colombia`s Santander de Quilichao municipality Dec 19, a day before the unilateral and open-ended ceasefire declared by the FARC.
Five soldiers were reportedly killed in the fighting, five were wounded and one was declared missing.
According to the army, "offensive military operations are under way against a mobile column of the FARC", and Becerra Ojeda "was kidnapped by this terrorist group".
"Under the directives of the National Army Command, all necessary actions have been undertaken to learn the whereabouts of the soldier, and they will (continue) until his release is achieved," the announcement said.
In November, the kidnapping of army general Ruben Dario Alzate, along with a soldier and a civilian, who were accompanying him on a visit to the village of Las Mercedes, led the Colombian government to suspend the peace talks with the FARC.
The FARC released Alzate and his companions a few days later and also freed two other soldiers who had been captured after a clash in Arauca, on the border with Venezuela, whereupon the peace talks were resumed.
At the close of the latest round of the talks, the FARC announced a unilateral and open-ended ceasefire that began last Saturday. Since then, there have been no reports of armed action undertaken by the guerrillas.