Nolberto Uni Vega (36) said he’s “remorseful” over the plight of Betancourt, a dual Colombian-French citizen who has been in jungle captivity since she was nabbed more than six years ago.”The family — her mother, her children, her husband — a lot of people are suffering,” Uni told reporters at a prison in the central town of Combita where he is serving 34 years for the abduction.Uni gave the letter to a journalist for delivery to Betancourt’s mother, who will pass it on to Sarkozy.Betancourt was kidnapped at a rebel checkpoint in 2002 along with her assistant, Clara Rojas, while campaigning for Colombia’s presidency. Rojas was freed along with two other hostages on Jan. 10.Betancourt’s abduction was never planned, Uni said, speaking with journalists inside a large metal cage.”The order was to detain all politicians of national stature,” he said, adding that he was in charge of the roadblock on the day of the abduction.Betancourt thought she was at a military roadblock, Uni said, and seemed surprised when she was told she was dealing with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.”Her face changed color,” Uni said. “She didn’t say anything to me.”Uni said he was only with Betancourt for a day before she was handed over to fellow rebels.Betancourt’s kidnapping has become a cause celebre in France. Earlier this month, Sarkozy launched a humanitarian mission to treat or rescue her after receiving reports that she was in grave health.But the delegation turned back after leaders of the FARC said they would not unilaterally release hostages and would only exchange Betancourt and other captives for rebels imprisoned in Colombia and the U.S.In Paris on Tuesday, Betancourt’s sister Astrid declined to comment on Uni’s apology. But she told The Associated Press that to her knowledge there is no basis for reports that her captive sibling has hepatitis B and is near death.”What is crystal clear for me is that my sister is weak,” Astrid Betancourt said. “But that doesn’t mean that she is so ill she’s on the brink of death.”Astrid Betancourt also discounted what she called “rumors” of sightings of Ingrid at clinics on the edge of Colombia’s eastern jungles.
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