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Colombian Rebels to Free Hostage Held for 11 Years


Colombia's FARC rebels said they plan to free a military hostage after holding him captive for 11 years, in a move they hope will lead to a hostage exchange with the government.

Leftist rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said in a statement Thursday that they soon will release Pablo Emilio Moncayo. Rebels captured Moncayo in December 1997 in an attack on a Colombian army communications base in Narino.

In recent months, the rebels have freed seven other hostages, among them police officers, a soldier and two former politicians. The group still is holding hundreds of captives in Colombia's jungles.

The rebels want to swap 22 of their military hostages for about 500 jailed guerrillas.

Colombia's government has been at war with the FARC since the 1960s. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and the European Union.

The FARC is funded by extortion and the trafficking of cocaine made from the country's rural coca plantations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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