The governor of Vichada, Juan Carlos Avila, told Caracol Radio that three gunmen forced the 23 out the camp where they were staying. They were subsequently taken into the jungle on canoes.
All 23 men are of Colombian nationality and had been carrying out exploratory work for Talisman, which is a partner of Colombian oil company Ecopetrol.
Avila stated that the FARC’s 16th Front are known to operate in the area and that it would therefore seem likely they are behind the kidnapping. However, other possibilities are being considered due to the presence of criminal gangs, or “BACRIMS,” in the area.
A spokesman for Talisman refused to place the blame on one group, stating, “I dare not say the FARC are responsible as the authorities have not confirmed this. We are analyzing all the information in detail.”
A search operation has already begun with the army’s 8th Division tasked with the duty.