Hostage Betancourt's life not at risk

14th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The French-Colombian hostage is seriously ill, but not in danger of dying, says Bogota’s peace commissioner.

14 April 2008
BOGOTA - French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, held by Colombian guerrillas since 2002, is seriously ill but her life is not in danger, Bogota's peace commissioner said in comments published on Sunday.

Luis Carlos Restrepo told the El Tiempo newspaper that the government had concluded from information it had received that "Ingrid is chronically ill but she is not at imminent risk of death."

The commissioner said "everything indicates that she is suffering from a chronic gastrointestinal problem and is also showing signs of malnutrition," adding that she may also have malaria and "of course, stress and depression".

"We have also learned through various channels that her emotional state remains strong, and that arguments with her captors have sometimes made things difficult," Restrepo was quoted as saying.

"It is a difficult situation for her and the other hostages, but there is no imminent risk of death as recent rumours have suggested."

Restrepo did not specify where he got his information, saying only that it had been shared with the governments of mediating countries France, Spain and Switzerland via "a direct communication channel".

This week, Betancourt's mother Yolanda Pulecio told France 3 television from Bogota that her daughter was not as ill as the rumours made out.

News of her ill-health had prompted France to send a medical mission to Colombia to offer treatment but it returned home last week after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) refused to let its doctors see her.

Betancourt is among 39 high-profile hostages who the FARC rebel group wants
to exchange with the government for 500 of their jailed fellow guerrillas.

The FARC, which has been fighting Bogota for four decades, snatched Betancourt in February 2002 as she campaigned for the Colombian presidency. She has been held in the jungle ever since.
[AFP / Expatica]

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