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Philippine Rebels Free Troops, Talks in Doubt

Philippine communist rebels freed Wednesday two soldiers they had held as “prisoners of war” for more than five months, saying they wanted to rebuild confidence in peace talks with the government. At a handover agreed with the military, Army Lieutenant Ronaldo Fidelino and Private First Class Ronel Nemeno, looking dishevelled but unharmed, were released to officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “I’m so happy, I’m so glad. I’m finally free,” Fidelino said after an ICRC official handed him to government officials. The release comes at a time when talks aimed at ending the 35-year-old conflict have been thrown into doubt by the rebels’ decision to postpone a fresh round of peace negotiations scheduled to start this month in Norway. Full Story

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