Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday the bodies of three Ecuadorean press workers kidnapped in a conflictive border region may have been found.
In a tweet, Santos said authorities are still verifying the remains of the three individuals recovered. Military officials later confirmed the body of a fourth person had also been found.
“I reiterate my condolences to their families and repudiation for such an atrocious crime,” he wrote.
The employees with the El Comercio newspaper were investigating a rise in drug-fueled violence along the Colombia-Ecuador border when they disappeared in March. In a proof-of-life video, the men identified their captors as members of a dissident front of the now disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Fears that reporter Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas and their driver Efrain Segarra had been killed surfaced in April when a Colombian TV network said it had received gruesome photos purporting to show the bodies of the men. Forensic officials were not able to confirm the authenticity of the images, but officials later announced they had concluded the press workers were killed.
Military operations along Colombia’s border with Ecuador have led to the capture of several individuals belonging to the rebel group but the leader remains at large.