FARC rebels release civilian pilots

Leftist FARC rebels released two civilian helicopter pilots they were holding hostage to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Juan Carlos Alvarez and Alejandro de Jesus Ocampo were handed over to ICRC representatives and a local human rights NGO in a remote location in the jungle-heavy Cauca province, reported Agence France-Presse. The pilots, who were kidnapped July 10, were taken to Popayan, a city 650km (404 miles) southwest of Bogota, where the ICRC and NGO helped them meet with relatives.

"Hopefully this will be a learning moment, so that this does not happen to any Colombian ever again," Alvarez said on local television. "I hope that we will be able to live in a Colombia that is at peace."

More from GlobalPost: French journalist Romeo Langlois freed by FARC rebels in Colombia

"They are fine. It's great news for their families," said ICRC spokeswoman Maria Cristina Rivera, according to EFE. "They will arrive in Popayan (Cauca's capital) and from there they will head to Medellin, their city."

In February, the FARC guerrillas had announced they would no longer commit political abductions and kidnappings for ransom, reported BBC News. But French journalist Romeo Langlois was kidnapped by the rebel group in April while he was alongside government forces and filming Colombian soldiers destroying coca laboratories. Langlois was held for 36 days before being released. Members of the FARC said the journalist had been wearing a flak jacket and helmet issued by the army, making him a prisoner of war captured in battle, not a victim of kidnapping.