Colombian rebels release French journalist
BOGOTA, Colombia -- French journalist Romeo Langlois was released by his leftist rebel captors Wednesday, more than a month after he was taken prisoner during a bloody confrontation with an army unit that the video reporter was accompanying.
Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, former Sen. Piedad Cordoba and a representative of the French government, Jean-Baptiste Chauvin, were present to take Langlois away from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The release took place in Montanita township in southeast Caqueta province, according to the Press Freedom Foundation.
Langlois, a 35-year-old freelance reporter for Le Figaro newspaper and France 24 cable channel, was released by the 15th Front of the FARC not far from where he was taken prisoner April 28 after suffering a bullet wound in an arm. He had accompanied an army unit deployed to destroy illicit coca crops, the base material for cocaine.
TV images of Langlois after his release showed him thin and with his left arm bandaged, but in apparently good condition.
Four soldiers were killed and four wounded in the seven-hour battle that led to Langlois' capture. Three rebels were killed, according to a rebel commander speaking on a video released after Langlois’ capture. The commander described the reporter as a “prisoner of war.”
The FARC in April released its last 10 military hostages, some of whom had been held as long as 14 years. The group said previously that it was giving up political kidnappings, although it has not promised to not take civilians hostage.
-- Chris Kraul
Photo: French Journalist Romeo Langlois looks out from a Red Cross vehicle after being handed over by Colombian rebels on May 30. Credit: Fernando Vergara / Associated Press