Colombian hostage escapes

The AP reports:

A 62-year-old lawmaker held captive eight years by leftist rebels walked to freedom in a western Colombia jungle on Sunday along with the young guerrilla commander who had been his jailer.

President Alvaro Uribe said the rebel and his girlfriend would be rewarded with cash and asylum in France.

Oscar Tulio Lizcano is the first Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia hostage to gain freedom since the July 2 rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors.

His escape is yet another blow to Latin America’s last major rebel army, which is battling record desertions under withering pressure from Colombia’s U.S.-backed military.

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