Colombia Arrests Suspected Kidnapper of Former Presidential Candidate
    2012-07-18 10:46:34     Xinhua       Web Editor: dingxiaoxiao

Colombian authorities said Tuesday they had captured a leftist rebel suspected of having a hand in the kidnapping of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

Marco Elvis Patino was arrested on Monday in Puerto Rico, a rebel stronghold in Colombia's southern Caqueta province, said the public prosecutor's office.

Patino has been a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for 31 years, serving as second-in-command of the group's 55th Front, and has taken part in attacks against military and police operations in Guaviare and Vaupes provinces, prosecutors said.

In February 2002, Betancourt, who had both French and Colombian nationalities, was captured by rebels while she was on a campaign trail in southern Colombia and spent six years in captivity.

Patino is accused of coordinating FARC operations aimed at hiding Betancourt and other hostages in rebel-held jungle territory, they added.

In July 2008, Colombian Army troops disguised as Red Cross workers freed Betancourt, as well as three U.S. military advisers, seven Colombian soldiers and four police officers, in a remote area of Guaviare.

FARC is one of Latin America's oldest and largest group of armed leftist activists, numbering about 9,200, according to official figures.

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