Colombian Rebels Free American Hostage Kevin Scott Sutay

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas have freed a former U.S. Marine who was kidnapped in June while he trekked through the jungle in a known guerrilla area, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Sunday.

Kevin Scott Sutay, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, had been backpacking through several Central and South American countries before he was captured by the FARC. He had ignored police warnings against hiking through a “red zone” for rebel activity, according to Reuters.

“We confirm that Kevin Scott Sutay was handed over to a humanitarian commission made up of representatives of the governments of Colombia, Cuba and Norway and members of the ICRC,” said Bogota-based ICRC spokeswoman Patricia Rey.

Rey said the release took place on Sunday in the southeastern province of Guaviare, where Sutay had been held. He has since been handed over to U.S. embassy officials at Bogota airport, she said.

“We welcome the release today of Kevin Scott Sutay from captivity at the hands of the FARC,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The United States is profoundly grateful to the government of Colombia and commends its tireless efforts to secure his release. We offer special thanks to President Juan Manuel Santos for his assistance.”

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