Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Aug 1, 2011 Leave a comment

5 kidnapped oil workers released

Colombia news - guerrillas

FARC rebels have released five oil workers of U.S. company Occidental Petroleum Corporation who had been kidnapped on Friday in the east of Colombia, a senior army official told reporters.

The five were kidnapped early Friday evening in the eastern Colombian department of Arauca where they work.

“We started an operation with three battalions in the area where the guerrillas fled with the hostages to secure the release of these people while trying to avoid combat so as not to hurt the workers. We did it,” General Jaime Reyes, commander of the Army’s 18th Brigade, told press.

Until Sunday, the army would not say which illegal group was responsible for the kidnapping; in the region guerrillas of both the FARC and ELN are active, and non-political groups involved in drug trafficking use the department to smuggle Colombian cocaine to Venezuela.

The kidnapping came one day after the FARC released the last of 23 oil workers who were kidnapped in March. The same guerrilla group still holds four Chinese oil workers captive after kidnapping them in the southern Caqueta department in June.