Former hostage of Columbian guerrillas meets pope

ROME (AP) -- "A dream come true" is the way former hostage Ingrid Betancourt describes her meeting with Pope Benedict.

Betancourt was rescued in July by Colombia's military after more than six years in the hands of leftist guerrillas. She says the pope's voice, which she heard on a radio broadcast, had reached deep into the Colombian jungle "like a light" to comfort her during captivity.

The former presidential candidate in Colombia credits her religious faith with helping her survive in the years following her kidnapping by the group known as FARC.

After meeting with the pope, Betancourt's eyes filled with tears as she made repeated appeals to the heads of FARC to lay down their arms and free their remaining hostages.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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