Red Cross: FARC planning to free French journalist

AP News
Posted: May 13, 2012 8:59 PM
Red Cross: FARC planning to free French journalist

Colombia's main rebel movement announced Sunday its intention to release a French journalist who went missing during a firefight two weeks ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia told the humanitarian organization it is "working to finalize the place, day and time" it will free journalist Romeo Langlois, Red Cross spokeswoman Maria Cristina Rivera said.

Rivera said the Red Cross was contacted directly by the FARC but offered no more details.

She said the FARC indicated that Langlois, 35, would be released to the Red Cross, a representative of France's new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, and former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba.

The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said it received a communique from the FARC's ruling secretariat affirming the same.

The FARC's secretariat confirmed a week ago that the rebels are holding Langlois. The French journalist disappeared April 28 when FARC fighters attacked security forces that Langlois was accompanying during an operation to destroy cocaine labs.

The FARC said Langlois had been given medical attention for an arm wound and was not in danger. Three Colombian soldiers and a police officer were killed in the firefight in the country's southern state of Caqueta.

Prensa Latina quoted the communique as attributing the FARC's delay in releasing Langlois to its need to investigate him and asserting its detention of Langlois should not be considered a kidnapping.

The FARC announced in February that it was halting all ransom kidnappings. Early last month, it released 10 soldiers and police officers who it said were its last remaining "political prisoners."

Langlois has been reporting from Colombia for more than a decade. He was on assignment for France24 television when he went missing and has also done work for the French newspaper Le Figaro.