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Leftist guerrillas release Colombian soldier

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Colombia's largest guerrilla group, the Marxist FARC, released a soldier Saturday they had held for nearly three weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Josue Alvarez, released in southwestern Colombia, was the third hostage freed after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels let go of two police officers on Friday.

The hostage was delivered to representatives of the ICRC and the local non-governmental group Colombians for Peace. Since 2008, the rebels have released more than 30 hostages to these mediators.

Alvarez, 19, was captured after rebels clashed with soldiers on January 30 in Narino department.

The FARC was founded in 1964 and counts about 8,000 guerrillas in its ranks. Colombian and FARC negotiators are currently engaged in peace talks in Havana, though neither side has ordered a ceasefire.

A year go, the FARC said they would no longer kidnap civilians for ransom, and freed the last of 10 police and military staff they were holding who were part of a group of about 60 hostages held for political reasons since the 1990s.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130216/leftist-guerrillas-release-colombian-soldier-0