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  • The three Colombian soldiers walk towards authorities after being released by the ELN Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

    The three Colombian soldiers walk towards authorities after being released by the ELN Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. | Photo: Twitter / @DefensoriaCol

Published 5 September 2018

The three military soldiers were detained by the ELN early last month.

The Colombian government confirmed Wednesday the release of the three soldiers who had been held by the National Liberation Army (ELN) as part of the effort to restart peace talks between the two sides that have been stalled since new President Ivan Duque took office last month.

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The government released the photos and names of those released. "The soldiers Orlando Yair Vega Diaz, Juan Pablo Rojas Ovando and Eduardo Caro Banol, in the power of illegal group the ELN since August 8, 2018, were handed over to a humanitarian commission comprised of the ombudsman and the Episcopal Conference of Colombia,” the country's ombudsman said on Twitter.

The news comes a day after the insurgent group announced that it would be releasing the detained soldiers, despite not having guarantees "that these operations can have the best outcome."

Duque has said the ELN must free 19 detained people before he will resume dialogue. He said during his Aug. 7 inauguration he would evaluate the talks, which began with his predecessor Juan Manuel Santos’ government in February 2017, over his first 30 days.

The last round of the talks, which were held in Cuba, ended on Aug. 1. The rebel group is believed to be holding six more security force members in Choco province as well as 10 others.

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