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Ecuador says abducted journalists are ‘well’

April 1, 2018

Two Ecuadoran journalists and their driver, who are believed to be held by dissident Colombian rebels, are “well,” the country’s interior minister said Saturday.

As of the previous day, “they were well, and the situation is stable,” Cesar Navas told journalists ahead of a meeting with relatives of the editor, photographer and driver.

The three, all working for the prominent Ecuadoran newspaper El Comercio, were seized early Monday in the village of Mataje, in Esmeraldas province, according to officials.

The area where the abduction happened has seen increased Ecuadoran military activity in a crackdown against armed insurgents who have split from Colombia’s former rebel group FARC, which has laid down arms and become a political party under a 2016 peace deal.

The journalists’ kidnapping has alarmed and unsettled Ecuador, with media saying it was the first such abduction in the country in three decades.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.