Colombia’s FARC Rebels Free French Reporter
Bogotá, May 31 (Xinhua-RHC) -- The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released French reporter Romeo Langlois to a humanitarian delegation on Wednesday after holding him for more than a month.
The humanitarian delegation was composed of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), former Colombian senator and peace activist Piedad Cordoba and French government envoy Jean- Baptiste Chauvin.
Television coverage of the release showed a smiling Langlois saying: “I’m fine, just a little tired. They never tied me up; they always treated me like a guest, with a lot of respect.”
The France 24 and Le Figaro correspondent fell into rebel hands on April 28th when the Colombian Army unit he had embedded with clashed with members of FARC’s 15th Front in rural Caquetá province during an anti-narcotics operation. Langlois also denied the Army version of the anti-narcotics operation saying that at the time of the clash, soldiers were destroying “a modest, small lab, like many others that they destroy; which belonged to a farmer.” The Army had described the anti-narcotics operation as targeting a major drug-production center capable of producing hundreds of tons of cocaine.
Initially, rebels had demanded an international debate on freedom of information as a prerequisite for Langlois’ release, saying reporters embedded with the army failed to report the facts objectively. After their request was refused by the government on the grounds that it did not negotiate with outlaw armed groups, the FARC decided to free Langlois anyway.