Colombia: ELN abducts gold prospectors

Guerillas of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) abducted five gold prospectors working for a Canadian company on an exploratory mission in Norosi municipality, Bolívar department, Jan. 19. One of the seized men was from Canada, two from Peru and two from Colombia. Toronto-based Braeval Mining said the three company employees and two consultants were working at its Snow Mine project, where the company is seeking gold, silver and copper. The area, in the San Lucas mountains, is a traditional ELN stronghold. President Juan Manuel Santos announced the following day that three suspected guerillas believed to have taken part in the abduction had been captured. Unlike the larger FARC guerilla organization, now in talks with the government, the ELN has not disavowed ransom kidnappings. (AP, Jan. 21; Fox News Latino, Jan. 19)