Colombia's Farc rebels release two hostages

Salin Antonio Sanmiguel hugs his relatives upon his arrival to a military airport in Bogota, Colombia Cpl Sanmiguel was greeted by his wife and daughters in Bogota

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Colombian Farc rebels have released two hostages they had held for more than two years.

The hostages, a police major and an army corporal, were handed over to a humanitarian delegation in a rural area of southwestern Colombia.

They were taken to the capital, Bogota, where they were reunited with their families.

It is the latest in a series of releases over the past eight days in which six hostages have been freed.

The Colombian government says the Farc still hold 14 members of the security forces and scores of civilians.

It has made the release of all hostages a condition for peace talks with the rebels.

A mother's relief

Major Guillermo Solorzano, 35, was kidnapped in June 2007 in Cauca province, in the southwest of the country.

Corporal Salin Sanmiguel, 28, was taken in a rebel attack on the army in Tolima province in May 2008. Five soldiers where killed in the attack.

Cpl Sanmiguel's mother told Colombian radio she felt like she had been reborn upon being given the news of her son's release.

The two hostages had been scheduled to be released on Sunday, but when the humanitarian delegation turned up at the agreed co-ordinates, neither the rebels nor the hostages were there.

The failed release caused anger among government officials, who accused the rebels of deceiving the delegation on purpose.

Decoy?

As part of the handover process, the government agreed to temporarily halt all military operations in the area.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the rebels could have used this pause in military operations to smuggle their leader out of the area.

The Farc leader, best known under his alias, Alfonso Cano, was believed to be hiding in Tolima.

Colombian security forces say they were slowly moving in on him.

However, the leader of the humanitarian delegation, former senator Piedad Cordoba, said adverse weather, and geographical and logistical problems were to blame for the failure of Sunday's release.

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