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Colombia's FARC: Some hostages to be freed; ransom kidnappings to stop

By the CNN Wire Staff
February 27, 2012 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The leftist rebels say they will stop kidnapping civilians for money
  • The Colombian president cheers news of the expected release
  • The FARC has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s

(CNN) -- The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, said Sunday it will free its remaining 10 government hostages and stop kidnapping civilians for money.

It did not address the fate of its civilian captives, nor did the group renounce kidnapping for political purposes.

Calling its police and military hostages "prisoners of war," FARC vowed in a statement published on its website to continue its fight against the state.

The leftist rebels have been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s. While severely weakened in recent years, the group has continued to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces.

"We are very happy for the 10 hostages who will be released and their families," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter soon after the announcement.

He recognized FARC's decision to renounce kidnapping as an "important and necessary step," but said it didn't go far enough.

In December, the FARC announced the planned release of six national police officers: Luis Alfonso Beltran, Cesar Augusto Laso, Carlos Jose Duarte, Jorge Trujillo, Jorge Humberto Romero and Jose Libardo Forero.

Need to buy a cow? Turn to FARC

It later postponed their release because of an alleged militarization in the area where the rebels operate. Those six officers and four more hostages will now be freed, FARC said. Details as to when and where were not immediately available.

CNN's Luis Carlos Velez contributed to this report.

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