The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, admitted Saturday they killed two policemen they kidnapped last weekend in the southwestern part of the country, saying their deed was justified because of "the huge military pursuit operation" they had to endure.

Maj. German Mendez Pabon and Edilmer Muñoz Ortiz went missing on March 15 in the rural area of Tumaco while working on a plan for protecting remote, vulnerable areas, and their bodies were found three days later showing signs of torture, authorities said.

"We in the FARC regret the tragic death (of the two police officers), while we send our words of encouragement to their families and friends," the guerrilla group said in a communique.

In the text, the guerrilla chiefs acknowledged that the police "were detained" by militiamen of the Daniel Aldana Mobile Column as the victims were carrying out operations "against the insurgency and rural populations across the country."

According to the FARC, the capture of Mendez and Muñoz "set off a huge military pursuit operation" with half a dozen helicopter gunships and multiple patrols that "forced" the guerrillas to kill them "without time to report the situation to their superiors."

"The war we Colombians have been going through for half a century takes the lives every day of many sons and daughters of a people that deserves peace," said the communique from the FARC, who since November 2012 have been negotiating a peace treaty with the government in Havana. EFE