Betancourt, 14 others freed by Colombian forcesJuly 3rd, 2008 - 3:22 am ICT by IANS
Bogota, July 3 (DPA) Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three US contractors and 11 other hostages held by leftist Colombian rebels were rescued Wednesday by Colombian military forces, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said. Betancourt, 46, had been kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Feb 23, 2002. She holds dual French-Colombian citizenship and was the most high-profile hostage held by FARC.
According to Colombian officials, Betancourt is in relatively good health condition, despite rumours of her imminent death that circulated in recent months.
The three US contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves were kidnapped by FARC in February 2003, when the plane they were travelling in in southern Colombia crashed. They were under contract with the US Department of Defence and were active in anti- drug tasks in Colombia.
FARC had planned to exchange Betancourt, the three US citizens and scores of military and police officers and politicians for FARC rebels held in prison.
Operation Jaque, which took place in the south-eastern Colombian province of Guaviare, is a very strong blow on FARC, which lost three members of its seven-member leadership - including its founder and boss - in March.
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- Seven rebels killed in bombing raid in Colombia - Nov 29, 2009
- Colombian guerrilla who guarded Betancourt surrenders - Sep 15, 2009
- Colombian boy walks 70 km to seek father's release - Jul 04, 2010
- Colombian troops free Betancourt, 14 others from leftist rebels (Lead) - Jul 03, 2008
- Colombians abducted 10 years back may be alive: Official - Sep 08, 2009
- Top FARC Commander sentenced to 27 years in prison for importing tons of cocaine into the US - Jul 23, 2010
- Eight miners killed in Colombia - Apr 09, 2010
- Colombia extradites captured rebel, 9 others to US - Sep 20, 2009
- No cease fire during talks with FARC: Colombian president - Sep 08, 2012
- Colombian hostages' families want Betancourt to represent them - Dec 01, 2008
- Colombia's Ingrid Betancourt seeks divorce - Mar 17, 2009
- No grudges at talks with Colombian government: FARC - Sep 04, 2012
- Colombia's FARC rebels release four hostages - Feb 02, 2009
- Colombian troops tricked leftist rebels to free Betancourt, 14 others (Second lead) - Jul 03, 2008
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