Colombia rebels delay release of captured police

The planned release Thursday of two police officers held by leftist FARC rebels in Colombia has been put on hold, according to the International Committee for the Red Cross.

"The release, which was to have taken place today, is not going to happen," ICRC president Peter Maurer told reporters in Bogota.

"We hope that will be able to take place at the first possible opportunity and that we will be able to settle all unresolved questions."

The ICRC, along with another non-governmental group, Colombians for Peace, set out early to an undisclosed location to pick up the captive police officers, Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Gonzalez.

Colombians for Peace chief Piedad Cordoba, a former senator, blamed the delay on swarms of journalists who she said have overrun the region where the handover was set to have taken place.

"The presence of journalists in the area created an obstacle blocking this humanitarian mission," Cordoba said via Twitter.

She wrote that a new attempt to free the men could take place as soon as Saturday -- the day set for the scheduled handover of the captive soldier.

The army suspended military operations in the region where the handover was to have taken place.

The capture of the policemen during a January 25 firefight with rebels, along with that of the Colombian soldier five days later in a different skirmish, raised tension in peace talks with the government.

Talks between the Bogota government and the Colombian rebels began November 19 in Cuba and are now in recess. They aim to end Latin America's longest running insurgency, which has been active for half a century.