The former leftist rebel in Colombia who kidnapped former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt six years ago has apologized for his actions.

Nolberto Uni wrote a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he feels remorse for the suffering he has caused Betancourt and her family.

Betancourt, a dual French and Colombian citizen, is still being held captive in the jungle by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Uni said Betancourt and her assistant drove to a remote checkpoint that he was manning in February 2002.

The former rebel, who is currently in a Colombian prison, said FARC leaders had ordered him to capture all politicians of a national stature.

He said Betancourt's skin changed color when she realized she had driven up to a FARC checkpoint rather than a military post as she originally thought.

Earlier this month, President Sarkozy sent a humanitarian mission to Colombia after reports that Betancourt was gravely ill.

FARC leaders denied access to Betancourt, who is one of hundreds of rebel hostages.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.