Authorities have confirmed the kidnapping of five oil company employees in central Colombia, local media reported on Wednesday.
The country’s Ministry of Defense confirmed reports that unknown individuals kidnapped workers from the Vista Hermosa municipality in a remote southern area of the central state of Meta, Blu Radio reported.
The contractors, in the employ of the Sercapetrol oil company, were travelling in a vehicle through the area when they were taken, according to Santa Fe Radio.
Rebel groups active in the area have been known to sabotage operations and kidnap workers from the energy and mining sectors, but so far, no armed or criminal groups have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, and no ransom calls have been made, the El Pais newspaper reported.
Initial reports did mention that the FARC‘s 1st, 53rd and 17th Fronts operate in the region, but did not accuse the rebel group, the country’s largest, of any involvement.
Regardless, with tensions high following the kidnapping of two police officers earlier in the week, some have already jumped to the conclusion that the FARC is responsible for the most recent kidnapping. The officers were found dead Tuesday in the southern state of Nariño, prompting a widespread backlash against the FARC, which had been accused of the attack.
Since the start of talks in November, no ceasefire has been declared by either party, though the FARC did agree to cease its longstanding practice of kidnapping as a show of good faith to the Colombian people.