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Colombian rebels free hostage after 12 years

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Colombian rebels free hostage after 12 years


A Colombian soldier has been reunited with his family after being held in the jungle for more than a dozen years.

Finally freed by left-wing FARC rebels, Pablo Emilio Moncayo was flown by the Red Cross to the southern city of Florencia.

One of the group’s longest held captives, Moncayo was seized as a teenager in 1997. He is now aged 32.

His release is the second this week by the FARC.

“I know some analysts have said, you will come out of 12 years of imprisonment with Stockholm syndrome,” Moncayo told reporters. But, in response to this idea, he insisted: “I never took off my soldier’s uniform and all this out of love for the Colombian people.”

Having lost top commanders and suffered a string of desertions, the FARC is at its weakest moment in decades. Its latest hostage handovers come as Colombians prepare to pick a successor to President Alvaro Uribe whose US-backed campaign has battered Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.

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