The three foreigners captured last week by the left-wing insurgency group, the ELN, have been separated from the other two Colombian hostages and are being guarded by a different group of guerrillas, reported local media on Thursday.
According to Caracol Radio, the Ministry of Defense was considering increasing the reward for information leading up to the rescue of the hostages to $56,000.
The Colombian army on Wednesday said it had assigned another 1,200 soldiers to the rescue group currently involved in finding the five hostages, adding to the 1,500 already involved in the search.
The five individuals — two Colombians, two Peruvians and one Canadian — were captured by ELN rebels on Friday in the northern Bolivar department.
The rebel group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, citing unequal distribution of mining rights in the area justified the action.
BACKGROUND: ELN claims responsibility for kidnapping
A spokesperson for the Canadian government told Colombia Reports that the Canadian government is “pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information [on the status of the kidnapped] and are in close contact with Colombian authorities.” Though the rebels have apparently attempted to justify the kidnapping, they have not made any formal ransom demands. For its part, the Canadian government stated that it “does not pay ransom or negotiate with terrorists.”
The ELN has repeatedly asked to enter peace talks with the Colombian government.