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FARC ‘to release’ FRANCE 24 journalist Langlois
FRANCE 24 journalist Romeo Langlois (pictured) is set to be released by his FARC captors on Wednesday, the Colombian rebel group said in a statement on Saturday, stipulating that the release would only go ahead if their security is guaranteed.
Colombia’s FARC rebels have issued a statement saying they are prepared to free FRANCE 24 journalist Roméo Langlois on Wednesday on the condition that the security protocol is adequate.
The statement, which was posted on the website www.resistencia-colombia.org as well as read aloud on the radio programme Las Voces del Secuestro early on Sunday, was issued by the 15th front FARC rebel brigade. The group said it was waiting to hear the proposed security plan on Langlois’ release.
Sunday’s statement was not the first time FARC has announced its intention to free the 35 year-old French journalist. Earlier this month the guerilla group said it would release Langlois, who also works for French daily newspaper Le Figaro, to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia.
Langlois was embedded in a unit of Colombian troops carrying out a counter-drug operation in southern Colombia’s Caqueta region when they came under attack by heavily armed FARC guerrillas on April 28.
Wounded in the arm during the clashes that followed, Langlois was taken captive by the rebel group, who initially declared him a “prisoner of war”.
Hollande vows to ‘ensure’ Langlois’ release
Following Langlois’ capture, then-presidential candidate François Hollande joined calls for the journalist to be freed, even going so far to make it a campaign promise.
"Regarding Roméo Langlois, if we are elected, then we have to ensure his release", Hollande told FRANCE 24 and RFI.
Since Hollande’s election, his government has cranked up pressure for Langlois’ release. A French government envoy is reportedly expected to arrive in Colombia shortly.
Founded in 1964, FARC is Latin America’s biggest and oldest guerrilla movement. The Marxist-inspired group, which is largely funded by drugs, has waged war against the Colombian government for nearly 50 years. However, in recent months FARC rebels have made small conciliatory gestures after a US-backed Colombian offensive dealt the movement a significant blow.
Since then, FARC leaders have promised to stop taking hostages for ransom – a lucrative practice the previously allowed the group to pay for materials such as weapons and food.
One of FARC’s most high-profile hostages was French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, who was held captive for more than six years before her release in 2008.