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Colombian Military Uses Betancourt's Voice to Urge FARC to Disarm


The voice of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt is blaring over the jungles of Colombia, urging the rebels that held her captive for six years to demobilize.

Colombian military helicopters equipped with loudspeakers are blasting Betancourt's voice in Spanish saying "hey, guerillas" and telling the rebels they can recover their liberty if they surrender.

The operation is part of a psychological campaign that the Colombian government hopes will persuade members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to disarm.

Betancourt and 14 other hostages held captive by the FARC were rescued last week in an elaborate Colombian military operation.

Betancourt's former captors are believed to be holding more than 700 hostages in Colombian jungle camps for ransom or political leverage.

The Colombian government has said it is looking into opening direct contact with the FARC in an effort to win the hostages release.

Betancourt is in France, but says she will return to Colombia.

She told Reuters television she is open to possibly running for the Colombian presidency again but is not going to become obsessed with the idea.

Betancourt was campaigning for the Colombian presidency in February 2002 when FARC leftist rebels kidnapped her.

On Tuesday, Betancourt received a warm welcome from members of the French Senate, who greeted her with tributes and a standing ovation.

The French government took an interest in Betancourt's case and President Nicolas Sarkozy made her release a priority.

Next week, President Sarkozy will award her with the Legion of Honor, France's highest distinction, on the Bastille Day national holiday.

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