A group of 20 persons has been kidnapped by armed men in the Pacific waters of Nariño, a department in the southwest of Colombia. Among the victims are at least one mayoral candidate and a council member, authorities said Tuesday.
According to Nariño Government Secretary Fabio Trujillo, authorities have not yet determined who kidnapped the group.
“All we know is that a boat, in which the armed men were going, intercepted two other boats, moved the people into one of them and took them away,” said the government official.
The victims’ boats were traveling between the port town of Tumaco and the nearby Salahonda, Trujillo added.
The mayor of Salahonda told Spanish press agency EFE that he had asked the Colombian Navy for increased protection of boats in the bay after several incidents wherein ships were attacked by armed men.
Following the kidnapping, the Navy sent out a press release saying that, together with the police, it had started “search operations to be able to find the location of the vessel which had sailed from Tumaco to Salahonda in Nariño and apparently was stopped by armed men.”
The kidnapping took place in an area where numerous illegal armed groups are active. The coastal region, because of its mangroves and seclusion from civilization, is one of the main spots from where Colombian drugs are exported to Ecuador and Central America.