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Colombian Rebels Free 13 Members of Medical Mission


Authorities in Colombia say leftist rebels have freed 13 members of a medical team whom they kidnapped from a hospital in the southern province of Putumayo.

Police say the abductees included doctors, nurses and technicians. After being freed, they were taken by the army to a military base near the jungle region of Puerto Asis. The medical team was kidnapped Monday while working in Puerto Asis.

Colombian officials have blamed the kidnappings on the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The Andean country has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates, with some 3,000 people abducted each year, mainly for ransom.

Colombia is mired in a long running civil war involving the FARC, a smaller rebel group known as the ELN, and rightist paramilitaries. The conflict leaves thousands of people dead each year.

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