Four abducted American missionaries, held on a remote ranch in northern Guatemala, escaped unharmed when their armed kidnappers clashed with police, officials said.

The kidnappings occurred Monday at a ranch near Sayaxche, 155 miles north of Guatemala City.Hours later, the troops and police located the kidnappers along the Usumacinta River in Guatemala's Peten region and a gun battle ensued, national police Chief Angel Conte Cojulun said.

Blood found at the site indicated one of the kidnappers may have been wounded.

Conte identified those freed as Barbara and Anita Stolfus and Otto and Jane Glick. Their hometowns were not known.

Authorities first said 13 missionaries had been abducted, but Conte said those reports were erroneous.

Earlier, police Chief Felix Flores Diaz of the Peten town of Flores said by telephone that eight unidentified men seized the missionaries, who are members of a Christian group called Nueva Vida, or New Life.