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Mar 18, 2012 12:34 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

Colombian rebels: Expect to free hostages soon

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombia's largest rebel group says it's ready to start freeing 10 soldiers and police officers who have been held prisoner for as long as 14 years.

But the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia also says it's waiting for President Juan Manuel Santos to permit a group of activists to visit jailed guerrillas.

The rebels say in a statement on their website that they plan to release the captives in two groups, and that now all that's left is for Santos to allow the prison visits.

The rebel group hasn't specified a date for freeing hostages. Former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba, who has served as a go-between, has said she expects the release will happen no later than the first week of April.

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