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Colombia rebels say will free two captive police, 1 soldier

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Colombia's leftist FARC rebels said Saturday they will free two police officers and a soldier they captured a week ago.

A statement from the FARC leadership of the rebels' web page said the hostages were in good condition and had been treated well. Their capture and a series of military clashes had caused tension at ongoing peace talks with the government.

The FARC said it would hand the hostages over to a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and an NGO called Colombians for Peace. It did not specify when.

It said the police were captured January 25 while engaging in "intelligence operations aimed at hitting our guerrilla units." It said the soldier was captured Tuesday.

Peace talks with the government began in November, but they have been marred this week by separate clashes that left four soldiers and five rebels dead, besides the rebel abductions.

The FARC used to kidnap civilians as a source of ransom money, but in February of last year said it would stop this. Weeks later, it freed the last 10 police and soldiers it was holding.

The new captive-taking came after a two-month ceasefire that the rebels had declared to support the peace process expired on January 20. The ceasefire was not matched by the government.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130202/colombia-rebels-say-will-free-two-captive-police-1-soldier