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Gunmen released 15 captives Monday from a group of at least 40 people kidnapped the day before from two restaurants and a family farm in southwest Colombia, police said. An American woman was among those freed.

Authorities said the mass kidnapping Sunday probably was the work of the National Liberation Army, Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group.

About 50 armed men, many wearing military-style uniforms and bulletproof vests, barged into the restaurants in the highlands outside the city of Cali on Sunday, police said, taking 36 people. Gunmen also seized four people from a nearby farm.

Helena de Lima, a U.S. citizen kidnapped with her Colombian husband and two other family members from a farm outside Cali, was freed Monday. Her husband, Eduardo, had been released late Sunday, but his sister and nephew remain hostages.

De Lima, who has lived in Colombia for 34 years, told Caracol radio she had been freed to deliver ransom demands for her husband's nephew and sister to a wealthy brother-in-law.

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