UPDATE 1-Colombian ELN rebels kidnap five, including Canadian

Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:45pm EST
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* Workers seized in gold mine run by Canada's Braeval

* Kidnap highlights security risks faced by miners

* ELN wants to start peace talks with government

By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Five workers, including a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians, were kidnapped on Friday by leftist rebels at a gold mine in northern Colombia, the army said.

"A group of 20 or 25 bandits from the ELN burst into the place and kidnapped five people," army General Alejandro Navas told reporters, referring to the National Liberation Army, Colombia's second largest guerrilla group.

Canadian mining company Braeval said those kidnapped worked at its Snow mine project.

Navas said soldiers backed by the air force had launched an operation to track down the rebels. He said the kidnapped workers included a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians.

Braeval said it was cooperating with the authorities to ensure the health and safety of its employees. It said three employees and two consultants were abducted but did not release their nationalities.   Continued...