France Demands Colombian Rebels Free Reporter Taken Saturday
First Published Monday, 30th April 2012 01:58 pm - © 2012 Dow Jones
PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French authorities demanded a Colombian Marxist rebel group free a French journalist they've held since Saturday, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Romeo Langlois was taken during a clash between the anti-drug army battalion he was accompanying and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the country's main rebel group. The incident comes weeks after the rebels freed 10 military hostages and said it was ready for negotiations.
"We hold the FARC responsible for the situation of M. Langlois," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in statement. "They committed themselves publicly to give up hostage taking. We insist they fulfill the commitment and we call on them to immediately free M. Langlois."
Langlois, a French citizen working for Paris-based TV station France 24, was taken in Colombia's lightly-populated southern province of Caqueta. The army had sent soldiers there to destroy cocaine laboratories run by FARC in the jungle.
Four Colombian soldiers were killed in the fighting while five, since accounted for, went missing with Langlois.
Colombian military officials said Langlois sustained a bullet wound to the arm and sought rebel protection.
The FARC held Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian politician with dual French nationality, for more than six years in Caqueta until she was freed by the army in 2008.
A military campaign by Colombian authorities over the past few years has pushed the FARC into Colombia's jungles and mountains. The group used to control large swathes of the countryside and big cities' shanty towns.
The rebels have launched a wave of attacks against the country's oil industry in recent months.
-By Inti Landauro Dow Jones Newswires, +33 1 4017 1740;
(Dan Molinski contributed to this article.)