Hostages rescued from Colombian rebels

July 2, 2008 at 5:10 PM

BOGOTA, July 2 (UPI) -- A former Colombian presidential candidate and three U.S. citizens were among 15 hostages rescued Wednesday from leftist rebels in Colombia.

Ingrid Betancourt, 46, who was captured by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, while campaigning for the presidency in 2002, was among those freed by Colombian forces, El Tiempo newspaper reported in its online edition.

The three Americans freed Wednesday included Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell.

The men, civilian contractors for the U.S. government, were captured in February 2003 when their plane crashed in the Colombian jungle.

The Colombian government has been fighting the FARC for more than 40 years.

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