QUITO – The three journalists from Ecuador’s El Comercio newspaper kidnapped last month along the border with Colombia are “presumably” on that country’s soil, Ecuadorian Interior Minister Cesar Navas said Monday.
“Based on the information we have, they’re presumably on Colombian territory,” Navas said during a meeting with foreign correspondents in Quito.
Defense Minister Patricio Zambrano and Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa also attended the meeting.
El Comercio reporter Javier Ortega, 32, photographer Paul Rivas, 45, and driver Efrain Segarra, 60, were abducted on the Ecuador-Colombia border on March 26 and their whereabouts is unknown.
Last Tuesday, Colombia’s Canal RCN aired a video showing the three journalists, providing the first proof that they were still alive.
The 22-second video showed the kidnapped reporters saying that their lives were in the hands of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno because the kidnappers wanted to “exchange” them for three comrades “detained in Ecuador.”
Colombian Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said a day later that the information gathered by his government indicated that the three men were being held in Ecuador.
“All possibilities remain open, we live under the rule of law and we have to see what can be done, but no avenue has been closed,” Navas said, referring to an exchange of the captives for prisoners.
In late March, Colombian armed forces chief Gen. Alberto Mejia said the three men were kidnapped by a dissident faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
The Colombian government reached a peace agreement with the FARC, which demobilized and transformed itself into a political party that uses the same acronym.