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Colombian guerrillas free 3 kidnapped petroleum engineers

COLOMBIA GUERRILLAS | 31 de enero de 2013

Colombia's National Police attributed Wednesday's kidnapping of three petroleum engineers to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group's 49th Front. The FARC freed the workers Thursday, National Police Maj. Johan Mercado said, adding that the rebels were forced to release them due to pressure from police, air force and army elements. EFE/File

Bogota, Jan 31 (EFE).- Colombia's FARC rebels have freed the three petroleum engineers they had kidnapped in the country's southwest, a police spokesman told Efe Thursday.

The guerrillas were forced to release their captives due to pressure from police, air force and army elements, Maj. Johan Mercado said.

"Reports are they're well," Mercado said, adding that Luis Miguel Figueroa, Cesar Galiano and Embert Garcia are being transferred to an army battalion stationed in Villagarzon, a town in Putumayo province.

The trio of contractors working for Canadian-owned Gran Tierra Energy was abducted Wednesday, and authorities had been carrying out an intense search for the men in a mountainous area between Putumayo and neighboring Cauca province.

Last Friday, FARC fighters took two police captive in Cauca.

The team representing the FARC in peace talks with the Colombian government said Wednesday that insurgents have the right to hold police and soldiers who fall into their hands in combat.

Even so, the FARC negotiators said Thursday in Havana that they had "no official report" from their forces concerning the alleged abduction of the two policemen.

President Juan Manuel Santos' government and the FARC embarked in October on a peace process aimed at ending Colombia's decades-long internal conflict.

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