BOGOTA - The Colombian Marxist rebel group, the National Liberation Army, has kidnapped three journalists, including one from Spain, who disappeared in recent days near the border with Venezuela, government officials said on Thursday.
The reporters vanished while working in El Tarra municipality in Norte de Santander, where the group, known as the ELN, earns money from illegal cocaine production in the lawless region about 400 km (250 miles) north of Bogota.
Spanish reporter Salud Hernandez, 59, who writes for Spain's El Mundo and local newspapers, was the first of the three reporters to go missing. She was last seen climbing aboard a motorcycle taxi on Saturday while working on a story about the illegal drug trade.
Reporter Diego D'Pablos and cameraman Carlos Melo, from local television news channel Noticias RCN, went to the area to cover Hernandez's disappearance before they themselves vanished on Tuesday.
Norte de Santander is a hub for cultivation of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. The ELN, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and crime gangs sometimes clash over drug routes and crops.
The government has been holding peace talks with the FARC since late 2012.