FACTBOX: Betancourt and three Americans rescued in Colombia

Thu Jul 3, 2008 1:25pm BST

(Reuters) - Colombia said on Wednesday it rescued French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans from leftist guerrillas who had held them for years in secret jungle camps.

Here are some facts about Betancourt and other hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

* Colombian-French politician Ingrid Betancourt, who was running for president, and her vice presidential candidate Clara Rojas, were captured while campaigning in 2002. Rojas gave birth to a boy, Emmanuel, while in captivity in a secret jungle camp.

* Three U.S. Defense Department contract workers -- Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell -- were kidnapped when their aircraft crashed while on a counter-narcotics mission in February 2003.

* Betancourt and the three Americans were among 44 key hostages the FARC wants exchanged for jailed rebels. Some have been held for nearly a decade. The government says the FARC holds another 700 hostages.

* In late 2007, the army arrested a group of guerrillas as they delivered documents including a video that showed a gaunt Betancourt sitting in the jungle and the three Americans. In a letter to her mother, the politician said she was barely eating and that her hair was falling out.

* The FARC began as a Communist peasant army in the 1960s. President Alvaro Uribe has pushed the guerrillas onto the defensive with a U.S.-backed security campaign, but the group is still fighting, kidnapping and trafficking in cocaine.

(Editing by David Storey)