FARC releases two hostages

June 4th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  


Bogota, June 4 (IANS) Colombia’s leftwing group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has released two male hostages kidnapped seven weeks ago, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday. The rebels released the two because their families were too poor to pay a ransom, Caracol Radio reported Tuesday.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 to 17,000 fighters and operatives across the country.

The FARC is on both the US and European Union lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

The group is holding 40 high-value hostages it deems “exchangeable” for as many as 500 jailed rebels. The most prominent among them are three US military contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

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