Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ingrid Betancourt Release by FARC - Her Health A Main Concern

French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three US military contractors were among a group of hostages rescued Wednesday, July 2, 2008 from Marxist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels in a daring jungle operation, Colombian officials said. The rescue is the most serious blow ever dealt to the 44-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, who considered Betancourt and the three Americans their most valuable bargaining chips.

Betancourt was captured and became a hostage in 2002, and the three Americans were held since 2003. Betancourt's health is a concern due to the pictures that came out and she appears on a not so good health condition. American hostages Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell were also freed in the operation, some 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the city of San Jose del Guaviare.

Santos said the military intelligence agents infiltrated the guerrilla ranks and led the local commander in charge of the hostages, alias Cesar, to believe they were going to take them by helicopter to Alfonso Cano, the guerrillas' supreme leader. The group was surrounded by military commandos, Cesar and the other guerrillas gave up without a fight as they helicopters took the hostages to a military base in Guaviare.