Colombia rebels kidnap five people

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IOL pic oct2 colombia santos cancer Reuters (File image) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

Bogota - Five workers, including a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians, have been kidnapped by leftist rebels at a gold mine in northern Colombia, the army said on Friday.

The five were taken hostage by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second largest guerrilla group, at a site next to a gold mine, army General Alejandro Navas told reporters.

He said the company running the mine was controlled by Colombian and Canadian investors, but did not name it.

“A group of 20 or 25 bandits from the ELN burst into the place and kidnapped five people,” Navas said, adding that soldiers had launched an operation with support from the air force to track down the rebels.

The ELN is not engaged in peace talks with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos. The country's biggest guerrilla movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is negotiating a peace deal with the government.

Talks to bring an end to Latin America's longest-running insurgency began in Cuba in late 2012. Santos says he wants the process wrapped up by November, but the rebels have said reaching a peace accord cannot be rushed. - Reuters

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