Colombian-French politician Ingrid Betancourt is finally free after being held captive for six years in secret jungle camps controlled by the Colombian rebel group FARC. Betancourt was rescued with 14 other hostages on July 2, 2008 in a Colombian military operation which involved infiltrating the inner circle of the FARC.
Betancourt was kidnapped while campaigning for the presidential elections in 2002, when she attempted to enter the demilitarised zone bordering on FARC territory. The feisty presidential candidate travelled through the jungle without an escort.
False hopes for Betancourt’s release were raised when two other hostages, Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzales, were freed on January 10, 2008.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had made Betancourt's release a priority since his election in May 2007. International attention was raised a notch when Venezuela’s president, leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, stepped in to mediate the release of the hostages.
Ingrid Betancourt was one of the several hundred hostages reported to be held by the Marxist guerrilla, which controls large swathes of Colombia’s jungle.