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Colombian gov't continues searching for kidnapped oil workers

(Xinhua)

17:10, August 19, 2011

BOGOTA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Colombian authorities continued on Thursday the search for three local contractors of Ecopetrol oil company, who were kidnapped by gunmen in a rural area of the country's northern department of Santander, officials said.

The three workers kidnapped in the town of Puerto Wilches are employed by Petroseismic, a contractor of the South American country's state-run oil company Ecopetrol, Governor of Santander Horacio Serpa said.

The kidnappers may be members of criminal groups in the region or rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest guerrilla group, the governor said.

Santander's Interior Secretary Constantino Tami said it appears to be an extortion scheme.

The FARC has launched several attacks on the country's oil infrastructure.

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