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Colombian rebels release more hostages

Feb. 12, 2011 at 8:58 AM
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BOGOTA, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Colombia's FARC rebels released two hostages Friday, but still hold others who have been in captivity a decade or longer, officials said.

The latest release brings the number of hostages freed this week to three and the militant group said it would release two more hostages Sunday, the BBC reported.

Former municipal council member Armando Acuna, 48, and Henry Lopez, a 25-year-old former marine, were released separately to a humanitarian delegation in southern Colombia's jungles and were flown out of the area on a military helicopter.

"It is time to move forward on the road to peace and reconciliation, seeking with dignity a solution to the Colombian conflict," said Acuna, taken hostage in May 2009.

Guerrillas turned the men over to officials from the International Red Cross and former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba, who worked to negotiate their release.

Another local politician was released earlier this week, but rebels still hold at least 15 others captive. Some have been held more than a decade, officials said.

The militants called their release a "gesture of peace."

President Juan Manuel Santos said he would not open peace talks with FARC until all the hostages are released.

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