Colombian army rescues two kidnapped tourists

Bogota (AFP) - Colombia's army said Thursday it had freed a Swiss and a Brazilian kidnapped three months ago by suspected guerrillas.

Daniel Max Guggenheim and Jose Ivan Albuquerque were rescued during a military operation in the southwestern Cauca department, one of the areas most blighted by drug-trafficking violence.

The two men fell into the hands of the "Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column" in mid-March, the army's anti-kidnapping unit said in a statement.

The guerrillas are among around 2,300 armed dissidents from the former rebel FARC movement who refused to lay down arms during the historic 2016 peace accord that ended a 50-year struggle by the Marxist group.

The unit said it also captured one of the suspected kidnappers, who was guarding the pair when they were rescued.

Guggenheim, who is retired, said in a press conference that he and Albuquerque were kidnapped while visiting the Pacific coast as tourists.

As they were returning to the capital Bogota, they were kidnapped at gunpoint from a restaurant in the Cauca department.

"He told us we'd reached the cemetery," said Guggenheim about their armed assailant.

The two men were taken hostage alongside two pet Pomeranian dogs.

Since breaking away from the FARC, disparate dissident groups have continued armed resistance to the government, financing themselves through drug-trafficking and illegal mining.

The more than half-century conflict left nine million people dead, missing or displaced.