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Colombian Rebels Free Former Lawmaker


Colombia's FARC rebels have freed a former lawmaker they held captive for more than six years.

The International Committee of the Red Cross Thursday announced the release of 45-year-old Sigifredo Lopez, who was flown out of the jungle by helicopter. The rebels Thursday handed Sigifredo Lopez to a Red Cross humanitarian mission that flew by helicopter into the jungle to pick him up. Lopez was then flown to the city of Cali, where he was reunited with family and greeted by other well-wishers.

Lopez was kidnapped from the Valle del Cauca departmental assembly in April 2002. Eleven other deputies were seized with him, but they were killed in June 2007 in what Colombia's government says was crossfire between two rebel units.

Lopez is the sixth hostage to be freed by the FARC this week, out of the hundreds believed held in jungle hideouts for ransom or political leverage.

The rebels released four members of the security forces on Sunday and a former governor on Tuesday.

The rebel group has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s.

Last year, soldiers posing as members of a humanitarian group freed 15 hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three American defense contractors.

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