Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ingrid Betancourt lands in Bogota

The news of the real of 15 FARC hostages was greeted with joy tonight. The news broke at around 19:00 GMT and within two hours family members were already packing their suitcases in order to fly and meet their loves ones. The mother of one of the released US contractors said she always knew her son would be freed and was overcome with joy at the news “This will be the first time I’ll have seen my son (Mark) in five years” Jo Rosano told al Jazeera. He was one of three American contractors employed by the US Department of Defense. They have been held around five years but many of the 11 Columbian security forces have been held captive for more than 10 years. Tonight President Sarkozy of France flanked by members of Ingrid’s family made a short address in which he expressed his joy at hearing of the released. He said Ingrid was in good health and was safe at a Columbian military base and added that his “thoughts were with Ingrid‘s family”. He thanked the Columbian President Urib as well as the authorities and army for securing Ingrid‘s freedom. Sarkozy also thanked the countries of Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador and made special mention to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his help in trying to negotiate her release. He called on FARC to stop the fight calling it an “absurd conflict”.
Members of Ingrid’s family also spoke about their feelings. Ingrid’s daughter Melanie said “We have waited so long for this moment. We lack words. We just want to hold mum in our arms”. She went on to thank the President and the Columbian authorities for releasing her mother. But she added people “must not forget the other hostages in the jungle and we must spare thoughts for those who have died”. He brother Lorenzo said he hoped the other hostages would soon be freed but today he said “we won a fight for freedom and its the most amazing moment of my life”. Ingrid’s sister Astrid also spoke of her joy and echoed the words of thanks by Melanie and Lorenzo. They were set to fly out and meet Ingrid in the coming hours. Shortly after they spoke a white jet touched down at a landing strip in Columbia carrying the released hostages. As Ingrid stepped from the aircraft she neamed smiles as she hugged her mother.

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