Hostage Reunited with Children

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More than a dozen men and women had been held captive by leftist Colombian rebels for years, but now, for the first time in a long time, they're home.

Watch our report and then Dale Hurd's interview by clicking the play button on the media player.

After nearly 2,000 days in what's been described as a "concentration camp," three American contractors are back on U.S. soil.

"[I'm] just looking forward to getting my arms around him, you know," said Lauren Stansell. "I'm definitely a daddy's girl and have been missing him very much."

Stansell's father and twelve others are no longer prisoners thanks to a gutsy plan.

Here's how it went down.

The rebels hired a private helicopter company to transport the hostages to a secret location. The hostages were handcuffed and marched on board. Once the doors were closed, the chopper took off. That's when the crew announced that they were undercover Colombian intelligence agents and that the hostages were free.

"From all points of view, it was a military success and a tribute to human rights," Colombian president Alvara Uribe said,

One of the hostages freed was Ingrid Betancour, a former Colombian presidential candidate. She was kidnapped in 2002 and was said to be near death late last year.

When she realized she had been rescued, she said, "We screamed, we cried, we hugged. We couldn't believe it. God carried out this miracle. This is a miracle."

Today Betancour hugged her children for the first time in years and families of the other former hostages got that chance too.

"This is the best. All those times that you just want to say hello to your son, all those times I didn't have a chance to say 'how ya doin'? I'm going to have a chance to do that," said George Gonsalves.

Still, hundreds more hostages remain in the hands of the marxist rebels called "The Farc." And they still terrorize Latin America.

They kidnap people so they can use them as bargaining chips with the Colombian and U.S. governments, and they finance their operations through the sale of cocaine.

The United States has been trying to break the group for decades and coincidentally, presidential candidate John McCain was in Colombia at the time of the rescue.

"This is great news, and now we will renew our efforts to free all of the other innocent people who are unlawfully being held hostage," he said.

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Reporter

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