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Escaped Hostage Was With 3 Americans (in Columbia)

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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-07 11:24 PM
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Escaped Hostage Was With 3 Americans (in Columbia)
Escaped Hostage Was With 3 Americans

Published: May 17, 2007
Filed at 12:02 a.m. ET

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- A police officer who fled to freedom after eight years as a hostage of leftist rebels said Wednesday that he was held until late last month with a former presidential candidate and three American military contractors.

Jhon Frank Pinchao told reporters last saw the three Americans -- Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes and Keith Stansell -- and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt on April 28, the day of his escape from a jungle camp.


Pinchao said he fled his captors, guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, near the southeastern town of Mitu, where he had been taken hostage during a rebel attack.

He said he had to walk, swim and crawl for 17 days through Colombia's remote Amazon jungle before running into an anti-narcotics police patrol on Wednesday.


The three Americans were captured in February 2003 by FARC when their plane went down during a surveillance missing in southern Colombia.

Betancourt, a congresswoman who campaigned against corruption, was kidnapped on Feb. 23, 2002 while campaigning for president in the south. A dual French-Colombian citizen, she has become a cause celebre in Europe.
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