Betancourt returns to Colombia

2010-07-02 19:32

Bogota - Former Franco-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt returns to Bogota on Friday to celebrate the second anniversary of her release along with 14 other hostages of the leftist FARC guerilla group.

Betancourt, who left her native Colombia shortly after she was freed on July 2 2008 in a US-backed operation carried out by the Colombian military, has only returned once to the country, for several hours in November 2008.

The former Colombian presidential candidate was held for more than six years by the Farc, and ultimately became a global symbol of the guerillas' hostages.

Three other hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) - Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell - will also participate in the ceremonies two years after the successful "Operation Jaque."

Farc rebels, active on nearly half of Colombian territory, still hold at least 19 soldiers and police officers who they hope to swap for some 500 guerrillas in Colombian jails.

The group has been at war with Colombian government since 1964.