Colombian authorities and relatives of a hostage kidnapped by rebels nearly six years ago have cautiously welcomed a video allegedly showing her alive. Ingrid Betancourt can be seen looking gaunt and tired with a chain around her wrist, staring at the ground. Betancourt, a Franco-Colombian politician, was captured while she was campaiging in the 2002 presidential election. She was last seen alive in a video believed to date back to 2003. The tape, seized during a raid in the capital Bogota in which three suspected rebels were arrested, was apparently shot just over a month ago.
Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace Luis Carlos Restrepo said: “Everything seems to indicate that these proofs of her survival date back to the last days of October this year.”
Other videos seized feature three US contractors kidnapped in February 2003. They seem in better health and spirits than Ingrid Betancourt. Letters thought to have been written by the hostages were also found.
Scores of captives including police, soldiers, businessmen and lawmakers remain at the hands of the leftist FARC rebels, who use them for ransom and political leverage.