A Colombian guerrilla group is trying to draw Ottawa into its battle with a Toronto-based mining company which is quietly trying to secure the release of one of its executives who has been held hostage since January.
The Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN) kidnapped Gernot Wober, 47, on Jan. 18, during an attack on the Snow Mine camp in Bolivar state, which sits in the northern part of the country. The guerrilla group kidnapped five other people, including three Colombians and two Peruvians, who have all since been released.
The guerilla group says that Wober, the vice-president of Toronto-based Braeval Mining Corp, won’t be released until the company gives up gold mining concessions in the San Lucas mountain range which the ELN claims were initially given to local miners who live in the area.
In a statement issued Wednesday and posted on the guerilla group’s website, the ELN took aim at the Canadian government.
“The Canadian government should at least be concerned about whether its anti-corruption laws are being followed by Canadian companies in their foreign operations,” said the ELN. “Neither the Colombian nor Canadian governments have bothered to investigate our accusations about the dispossession of four mining concessions held by communities in the southern part of Bolivar (state) by the Northern American company Braeval Mining Corporation.”