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Freed Colombian Hostages Return Home


Four Colombian men held captive by rebels for nearly 12 years have returned to Bogota.

The four arrived in the Colombian capital Monday, a day after a military operation in the southeastern province of Guaviare rescued them from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The former police and military hostages got a hero's welcome on their return.

One was found early Monday hiding in the jungle, after Sunday's rescue operation scattered the rebels. Authorities said the operation took six months to plan.

It was one of the highest-profile rescues since military forces freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. nationals in 2008.

While most of FARC's funding comes from cocaine trafficking and extortion, the leftist rebels are believed to hold at least 20 police and soldiers, and an unknown number of civilians, for ransom or political leverage.

The rebels have been at war with the Colombian government for more than 45 years.

Colombia, the European Union and the United States have designated FARC as a terrorist organization.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Reuters and Bloomberg.

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