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Colombian rebels release video of abducted congressman

  • Story Highlights
  • In video, Sigifredo Lopez asks Colombia's president to reach deal quickly with rebels
  • Lopez says other hostages from his party died in June 2007
  • Lopez cites date of March 30, 2008, in video released to Colombian TV
  • Rebels abducted congressman in 2002
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(CNN) -- Colombia's main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has released a video of an abducted congressman as proof the politician is alive.

The video, broadcast Saturday on Colombian TV Caracol, showed Sigifredo Lopez, who was kidnapped in 2002 with 11 other politicians in the city of Santiago de Cali.

In the footage, Lopez cites the date as March 30, 2008, and confirms that other members of his party died in captivity on June 18, 2007.

Lopez asked the government of President Alvaro Uribe, who has been intransigent in negotiating with the guerrillas, to reach a deal quickly with the rebels and exchange prisoners for Colombian hostages in a safe haven.

The Colombian government did not issue a response to the video.

Lopez added that he suffers from migraine headaches, stress, insomnia, depression and hypertension.

Established as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party in 1964, FARC is Colombia's oldest, largest and best-equipped Marxist rebel group, according to the U.S. Department of State.

The United States classifies the group as a terrorist organization.

FARC has been embroiled in a complex guerilla conflict with the Colombian government and right-wing paramilitary groups.

FARC has long justified hostage-taking as a legitimate military tactic. The group holds roughly 750 hostages in Colombia's jungles.

FARC is still considered extremely dangerous, but its size and influence have decreased in recent years.

The group's leader, Pedro Antonio Marin, died from a heart attack in March.

The group's second-in-command, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, also known Raul Reyes, was killed when Colombian forces bombed a rebel camp just inside Ecuador on March 1.

He was the first member of the FARC's leadership council to be killed in combat.

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