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QUITO, Ecuador – The Latest on the kidnapping of Ecuadorean press workers. (all times local):
Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno says it is highly likely that three press workers kidnapped along the conflictive border were killed and is giving their captors 12 hours to demonstrate they remain alive before he orders a major military operation against them.
Two journalists and a driver from the Ecuadorean newspaper El Comercio were taken hostage three weeks ago by a holdout faction of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia while investigating a rise in drug-fueled violence along Ecuador's northern border.
An emotional Moreno said that photos obtained earlier Thursday purporting to show the bodies of the men were still being verified by forensic specialists were likely authentic.
He said the time for restraint was over and that he won't allow Ecuador to become a haven for transnational drug gangs.