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ICRC assists in hostage handover

Rebels in Colombia have handed over four hostages to the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross.

The hostages - three police officers and a soldier - had been held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) for more than a year.

A Brazilian military helicopter with the ICRC insignia picked up the hostages on Sunday and flew them to a provincial Colombian airport where they were met by relatives and peace activists.

They were among six hostages Farc has pledged to liberate unconditionally this week in response to a plea from Colombian intellectuals. Two Colombian politicians are also due to be set free. Observers have described the releases as a goodwill gesture.

At least 22 soldiers and police continue to be held by the Farc. The rebel army has tried to overthrow successive Colombian governments in order to impose a leftist regime that they say would redistribute land more equitably.

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