Colombia's ELN guerrilla group abducted five employees from a gold mine in the northern province of Bolivar, the armed forces commander said Friday.

"They kidnapped five people, among them a Canadian, two Peruvians and two Colombians," Gen. Alejandro Navas told reporters in Bogota.

As many as 25 ELN fighters stormed the mining camp before dawn Friday and took five of the employees captive, he said.

"At this moment army units that are in the region are carrying out inspection of area and pursuit by land and air, respectively," Colombia's top military officer said.

The identities of the captives remained unknown.

The ELN, which is the smaller of Colombia's two main insurgencies, targets the mining and oil sectors to signal opposition to the involvement of multinational companies in exploiting the Andean nation's natural resources.

On Christmas Day, the ELN freed two oil engineers the rebels kidnapped in the northeastern province of Arauca. The men were employees of a firm contracted by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum. EFE