Ecuador says two more kidnapped on Colombia border

Quito (AFP) - Two more people have been kidnapped on the Colombia-Ecuador border by the same group responsible for the recent abductions and killing of two journalists and their driver, Ecuador said Tuesday.

The latest kidnappings were claimed in a video sent by the same dissident FARC rebels who claimed responsibility for the killing of the Ecuadoran news team, Interior Minister Cesar Navas said.

"Through the channel of communication we have with the so-called Guacho we have received information yesterday evening about a new kidnapping of two citizens," Ecuador's Interior Minister Cesar Navas said.

A FARC splinter group named the Oliver Sinisterra Front -- led by Patricio Arizala, alias Guacho -- is responsible for a number of recent deadly attacks on security forces in the border area, last week claiming the kidnapping and killing of the journalists and their driver in a crime that shocked Ecuador.

Navas said a video sent by the group via WhatsApp shows a handcuffed middle-aged couple flanked by armed men in military fatigues, making a plea for help to President Lenin Moreno not to allow them to suffer the same fate as the journalists.

The names of the man and woman and their nationalities are unknown.

There have been no reports of anyone missing in the border area.

"He's trying to play again with Ecuador. He wants us to comply with his demands," Navas said.

Reporter Javier Ortega, 32, photographer Paul Rivas, 45, and their driver Efrain Segarra, 60, all worked for the influential El Comercio newspaper and were following a story on violence in the border area when they were kidnapped on March 26.

On Monday the dissident rebel group said it had suspended return of the bodies of the dead men because of the ongoing military operation.

Both Ecuador and Colombia sent troops into the jungle to hunt down the killers.