Farmers in Guatemala release 29 abducted police officers

Other News Materials 23 February 2008 19:23 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Hundreds of Guatemalan farmers released Saturday 29 police officers, whom they had taken hostage, after their main demand to release one of their leaders was not met.

The police officers were well, Guatemalan media reported quoting police.

Around 1,500 angry farmers had abducted the police officers Thursday in the north-eastern town of Livingston on the Caribbean coast and taken them to the nearby village of Creek Maya.

The dispute revolved around the arrest of a community leader on charges of robbery, usurping property and illegal detention. Farmers said the February 14 arrest of Ramiro Choc was politically motivated, and demanded his release.

Interior Minister Vinicio Gomez rejected their demand and said the problem was of a "judicial" nature and the farmers should appeal to a judge for Choc's release.

However, state representatives have agreed to hold talks with the farmers about their claims to land currently in private and national ownership, but which they insist is their property.