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Colombian guerrillas release two police hostages

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Leftist Colombian guerrillas on Friday released two police officers they had held for three weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The men were released in a rural area in Cauca department in southwestern Colombia and were in good health, the ICRC said in a statement.

The officers were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel group, in a January 25 firefight.

The hostages were delivered to the ICRC -- which often acts as a mediator when guerrillas release hostages -- along with another non-governmental group, Colombians for Peace.

The army suspended military operations in the region where the handover took place.

The FARC had originally planned to release their hostages on Thursday. Piedad Cordoba, a former leftist senator who now heads Colombians for Peace, blamed the delay on swarms of journalists that she said had overrun the handover area.

The mediators took the two officers -- identified as Cristian Camilo Yate and Victor Gonzalez -- to the city of Cali, the statement read.

The FARC are also holding a soldier captured in a separate clash, and have said they will release him to the ICRC on Saturday.

The FARC was founded in 1964 and currently has some 8,000 guerrillas.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130215/colombian-guerrillas-release-two-police-hostages