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| 6/15/2010 12:00:00 AM

Farc hostages reunited with families after 12 years in captivity

June 15--Three hundred Colombian soldiers storm jungle hideaway to rescue four captives.

Fathers' Day came early this year for two young boys who met their dad for the first time today after Colombia's army rescued him from a jungle camp where he had been held by leftist rebels for nearly 12 years.

Leonardo, 12, and Sebastian, 11, embraced Colonel Enrique Murillo – still wearing the chains of his captivity – on the tarmac of Bogota's military airport. He arrived with three other former hostages who were rescued in an operation by Colombia's special forces in the south-eastern jungles.

"This is an immense joy for me and for my little brother," Leonardo told a local radio station. Sebastian, who was born after his father's capture, said he had many things to tell him.

Murillo was rescued along with General Luis Herlindo Mendieta and Sergeant Arbey Delgado yesterday. Colonel William Donato, who apparently fled when the rescue operation began, was found today hiding under dead leaves and a plastic tarpaulin. The captives had been held by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, since 1998.

They were freed after a raid on a rebel camp in Guaviare province by 300 men. The raid, Operation Chameleon, followed sixth months of infiltration into the guerrilla camp by government agents.

An intelligence officer told El Espectador newspaper that agents had infiltrated the guerrilla front holding the men to the extent that, at one point, "there were more members of the government forces in the camp than guerrillas".
 
Read more here.
 
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