President Juan Manuel Santos congratulated the army for the rescue of 21 of the 23 oil workers kidnapped Monday, but stressed he will not be satisfied until all hostages in Colombia are free.
Santos said that the fact the majority of the men kidnapped were liberated only 12 hours after their capture is a testament to the effectiveness of the security forces, Caracol Radio reports.
However, he added, “We cannot be satisfied just with the rescue of [these] hostages. We will not rest until we see all hostages free and free [from the threat] of kidnapping.”
In a separate report, it has emerged that at the time of capture, the 23 men, employees of an oil company subcontracted by the Canadian firm Talisman, were not under the surveillance of the army as is usual protocol. This appears to be because soldiers had to accompany a separate group of 25 men from the same base to carry out work, leaving the 23 at the camp unprotected.
Officially, it is still unclear as to which group the armed men belong but the government is placing responsibility with the FARC’s 16th Front which is known to operate in the area.
On Tuesday morning, 21 of the 23 men were rescued. This came after one of them managed to flee the captors during the night and alert the army as to the group’s location.
One man remains hostage but Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera has assured that the army is “redoubling” its efforts to ensure his safe return.