Colombian rebels release soldier
February 17, 2013 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
One of five Geo Explorer employees released by Colombia's ELN rebels earlier in the week.
- Soldier was captured by the FARC late last month
- He is at least the eighth person freed this week
- FARC rebels, the government are in peace talks
(CNN) -- The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the FARC, released a soldier hostage on Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported.
The soldier, identified as Josue Alvarez, was captured on January 30 in Narino, a department in southwest Colombia. He was released in that same department to a humanitarian team.
"We hope Mr. Alvarez will soon be reunited with his family," Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia, said in a statement. "We are delighted that the operation went smoothly."
ICRC said it has facilitated the release of eight people this week, including Alvarez, two police officers, also held by the FARC, and five civilians, held by a second rebel group, known as the National Liberation Army, or ELN.
The five civilians who were captured January 18 work for a mining company.
The police officers were taken in Valle del Cauca, another department in southwest Colombia, and had been held since January 25.
Their releases come amid peace talks between the government and the FARC. The two sides have been at war since the 1960s.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said he wants talks wrapped up by November.
There have been sporadic attempts at peace in the past.
The last effort fell apart in 2002. Then-President Andres Pastrana ceded an area the size of Switzerland to the guerrilla group, but he ended negotiations after rebels launched a series of attacks across the country in an apparent bid to strengthen their position.
CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories