BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Five armed men kidnapped an American geologist at a coal mine in northern Colombia, authorities said Wednesday.

The man, an employee of Geomet Inc. of Bessemer, Ala., was seized on Tuesday while driving a company vehicle in the northern state of Guajira, police said.

Sources in Colombia, speaking on condition of anonymity, gave his name as Frank Pescatori and said he was a 40-year-old geologist working at the Roche-Chancleta coal mine in Hato Nuevo and a New Jersey native.

Geomet refused to comment on the kidnapping, refusing even to confirm the geologist's name.

Colombia has the world's highest kidnapping rate, and foreigners are often targeted because they fetch the largest ransoms. At least 45 have been abducted this year.