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Two policemen kidnapped in southern Colombia


16:08, September 28, 2011

BOGOTA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Two policemen were kidnapped Tuesday by unidentified gunmen on a highway near the city of El Tambo in southern Colombia's Cauca department, El Tambo's mayor Ciro Martinez said.

The policemen were on the way to the Santa Ana forests to change guard when they were intercepted by a group of armed men who took them to the mountain area of El Tambo, Martinez told local press.

He said the policemen were dressed in civilian clothes and traveled by public transport, which stopped on the highway for a rest when the kidnapping occurred.

"The government of the municipality and the department (province), as well as the People's Defense Office, are asking that the life of these two young policemen be respected," Martinez said. However, he declined to reveal further details about the identities, ranks and ages of the victims.

A large number of illegally armed groups are known to be active in Cauca and the nearby regions, including the guerilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), some paramilitary groups and drug cartels.

At least 20 members of the government forces and the police are currently being held hostage by the FARC in different locations across Colombia. Some of them have been held captive for more than 10 years.

The FARC has demanded Colombian authorities release their jailed members in exchange for the hostages' freedom. But the government has rejected the request, saying that it would not negotiate with terrorist groups.


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