Guerrillas of the ELN have taken two soldiers prisoner in Wednesday attack that has so far cost the lives of ten soldiers and injured 11 others, authorities confirmed.
The soldiers had gone missing in action after members of the rebel group attacked a convoy in a municipality between the city of Bucaramanga and the Venezuelan border.
General Juan Pablo Amaya told Caracol radio that one soldier missing in action had been taken prisoner by the rebels in the attack. Local media reported later that a second soldier had also been captured by the ELN.
According to the official, the rebels were able to attack the army unit so effectively using home-made mortars.
Of the 34 soldiers that were in the unit, only 12 were unharmed.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the immediate creation of a search bloc to find the perpetrators and the missing soldiers.
Di instrucciones a los comandantes que persigan sin contemplación al ELN y que no dejen el asesinato de nuestros hombres sin castigo,
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) May 22, 2013
The ELN attack is the deadliest confirmed rebel attack so far this year. The FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, claimed to have killed more than 30 soldiers in an attack in the south of the country, but this was denied by authorities.
Location of the attack