Saturday, February 12, 2011

Colombia's FARC rebels have released two more of the five hostages they had promised to free this week as a gesture of peace to the government.

Politician Armando Acuna was released by FARC rebels during a humanitarian mission started by former Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel force, freed Jose Armando Acuna, a 48-year-old town councilman seized in 2009, and Henry Lopez, a 25-year old soldier kidnapped eight months ago, on Friday, AP reported. 

The hostages were handed over to a humanitarian delegation that included officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross and former Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba, who helped mediate their release. 

Earlier this week FARC freed another local councilor, Marcos Baquero, its first unilateral release of a captive since May of last year. 

That brought to three the number of captives that the leftist group has freed this week. Two more releases are scheduled for Sunday. 

The Colombian government has made the release of all hostages a condition for any peace talks with FARC. 

FARC has freed 17 "political" hostages since early 2008. Fewer than 20 remain in rebel custody, but several have been held for over 12 years. 

Latin America's oldest insurgent group, FARC has been battling the government since 1964. 

The rebel organization has an estimated 8,000 fighters operating across a large swathe of the eastern jungles of the Andean nation. source

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