Betancourt urges hostages' freedom

2010-07-03 14:31
Bogota - Former Franco-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt has urged the leftist FARC guerrillas on Friday to free their prisoners as she celebrated the second anniversary of her own release.

"I have faith and hope that those who are kidnapped will be released soon and I call on the FARC to change course and become a peace alternative," Betancourt said on Friday at a ceremony celebrating the Colombian military's successful "Operation Jaque" of July 2 2008.

The US-backed operation freed 15 hostages of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - Betancourt, three US military contractors and 11 Colombian soldiers and policemen.

It was Betancourt's first visit to her native country since a stopover of only a few 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 guerrillas’ hostages.

She said she still suffered pain as a result of her captivity.

"I always have the impression that I am fine, calm and happy, and suddenly I mention something, and the sadness, tears and angst come back," the former hostage told AFP. "I am not yet in control of my emotions to the degree I would like."

Betancourt, who was abducted in the midst of her presidential campaign in February 2002, earlier took part in an event paying tribute to military officers who helped free her through the complex intelligence operation.

The event consisted in a wreath laying ceremony to those who remain in captivity at the Jose Maria Cordova Military School (west of Bogota), with the heads of military forces and the Police and French diplomats.

Since her liberation, Betancourt has been at the centre of public attention and was even recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize. But she said in was important for her to remain humble.

"People can take you very high," she noted in the interview. "But a person remains what he or she is. It is important to maintain a distance between the highs and the lows and have the tranquillity of knowing what one really is."

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.
Read more on:    ingrid betancourt

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?


For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.