The National Liberation Army -ELN- said that they have "retained" an American photographer and a British reporter working for Los Angeles Times in Colombia. They are the first foreign correspondents to be abducted in recent times.
Scott Dalton, a native of Texas and Ruth Morris, from the United Kingdom were kidnapped while in a special assignment in country's jungle. They had been intercepted at a rebel roadblock in Arauca State, one of the most violent regions of Colombia.
The kidnapping comes as the United States is beefing up military aid to the Colombian government, which has been battling the ELN and a larger rebel group for 38 years. Last week, dozens of U.S. Special Forces trainers arrived in Arauca to train Colombian troops to battle the guerrillas. The Colombian soldiers will be tasked with protecting an oil pipeline in Arauca that has been sabotaged by the rebels numerous times.
According with the Communist Party of Colombia, original mastermind of country's rebel groups, the military protecting of oil pipelines with US troops is a threat to national sovereignty.
The kidnappings come just days after three other journalists were reported missing and believed kidnapped by a Colombian paramilitary group in Panama just north of the Colombian border.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
Photo: Arauca has been declared war zone by Washington and the Colombian Government