Colombia's FARC rebels to release French journalist, statement says

FARC commander Ancizar, aka Monazo, looks on before reading a statement May 6 confirming the capture of Romeo Langlois.

Story highlights

  • France 24 journalist Romeo Langlois was wounded when captured, rebels say
  • The war reporter was seized 2 years after he filed a special report on the FARC
  • Four people were killed and six were wounded when he was kidnapped
  • FARC has been weakened in recent years, but continues to carry out kidnappings

FARC rebels in Colombia say they will release French journalist Romeo Langlois on Wednesday, according to a statement posted on a website linked to the armed leftist insurgent group.

The France 24 journalist was seized last month in a FARC attack on a Colombian army unit engaged in counter-narcotics operations.

His capture came almost exactly two years to the day after he did a special report on whether the guerrillas could keep fighting after their leader and a top military commander were killed.

Langlois, a correspondent with more than 10 years experience in the country, appears to have spent several days with a mobile FARC unit to prepare the April 2010 report.

He described them as "in a weak position" and said they were "tired of fighting for 40 years in the jungle."

He was reporting alongside soldiers when the rebel group attacked and captured him on April 28, the Colombian government said. Four people were killed and six were wounded in the attack, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

Langlois was lightly wounded in the arm when he was captured, but was treated and is out of danger, according to a man who claimed to represent the rebels.

The man in military garb referred to Langlois as a prisoner of war in a video posted on the France 24 website on May 7.

FARC announced a week later that it was prepared to release the Frenchman and called for negotiations involving the International Committee of the Red Cross and others.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said his government would do whatever was necessary to guarantee Langlois' release.

"The Colombian government is willing to provide all the facilities so the release occurs as quickly as possible, but if you really want to be viewed well by the world, release him now and simply tell us where he is and we will go get him," he said earlier this month.

Kidnapping government forces and civilians has been a key strategy of the rebel group.

Dramatic rescues, escapes and hostage handovers have revealed harsh conditions in jungle camps, including stories of prisoners chained to trees, grueling marches between hideouts, torrential rain and blistering sun.

While severely weakened in recent years, the rebels have continued to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces.

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