Colombian rebels release two captured cops

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 05:50 hrs

Bogota, Feb 16 (IANS/EFE) Colombia's FARC rebels have released two police officers taken prisoner last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The handover took place Friday in a rural area of the southwestern province of Cauca and the former captives, Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Alfonso Gonzalez, are "in good health", the ICRC's Bogota office said in a statement.

Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, delivered the two officers to representatives of the ICRC and the organization Colombians for Peace.

The release was broadcast live on Venezuela-based cable network Telesur.

The leader of Colombians for Peace, former Sen. Piedad Cordoba, said she and the rest of the humanitarian delegation would be leaving later Friday for the site where the FARC plans to hand over an army officer captured Jan 31.

Josue Meneses is expected to be freed Saturday in Narino province, Cordoba said.

Policeman Yate thanked Cordoba, the Red Cross and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for their efforts to secure his release.

The two police officers were supposed to be freed Thursday, but the FARC aborted the handover, complaining of too large a media presence near the designated site.

The Santos government and the FARC are currently engaged in talks aimed at ending Colombia's decades-long internal conflict.



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