Betancourt tried five times to flee captors

18th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

BOGOTA, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, seized in 2002 while campaigning, has tried on five different occasions to flee her Colombian captors, according a former fellow hostage who recently escaped.

BOGOTA, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, seized in 2002 while campaigning, has tried on five different occasions to flee her Colombian captors, according a former fellow hostage who recently escaped.

John Frank Pinchao Blanco, broke free from a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel camp where nearly 60 other hostages are being held, including three Americans and the Franco-Colombian politician Betancourt.

He said Betancourt was "severely punished" for her escape attempts.

Pinchao provided the first detailed account of how the celebrated politician is faring during her captivity.

"Ingrid is in good health," he said. "She does a lot of exercise, writes, listens to the radio and cuts out news articles about her that she reads in the newspapers."

"During her entire captivity she has tried to escape on five ocassions," he said.

Pinchao, a Colombian policeman, managed to escape Wednesday just as his captors had proposed swapping him for rebels imprisoned by the government.

Held for eight years by the FARC, he broke free from the rebel camp during a police operation launched 13 days ago in the Vichada area, near the border with Brazil.

The 17,000-strong FARC army, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia, has demanded the release of 500 of their comrades in exchange for freeing 57 hostages, including Betancourt.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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