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Latino Daily News

Sunday May 27, 2012

FARC Will Finally Release Detained French Journalist This Week

FARC Will Finally Release Detained French Journalist This Week

Photo: Romeo Langlois

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

French journalist Romeo Langlois will be released this week, Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group said in a statement on Sunday.

Langlois will be released on Wednesday, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a statement issued a day before his one-month mark in the custody of the insurgent group.

The FARC’s 15th Front used the Web site of the Ivan Rios and Martin Caballero blocs to release the information.

The FARC statement, datelined in the “mountains of Colombia,” consists of three points in which the rebels say, first, that “the release of the French journalist Romeo Langlois will take place (on) Wednesday, May 30.”

After that, the communique lists the coordinates of the site where Langlois will be turned over “at the proper time” to a humanitarian mission composed at the request of the guerrillas of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, former Sen. Piedad Cordoba and a representative of the French government.

The guerrillas said that they expect security protocols to be implemented to ensure the operation’s success. “All the parties to this release must be surrounded by certain guarantees for their physical integrity,” the FARC said.

Cordoba, who is in Mexico to prepare her program for Venezuelan television channel Telesur, will move up her return to Colombia from Thursday to Monday so that she can finalize the details of the release operation, her press office said.

It was scheduled for French President Francois Hollande’s personal representative, whose identity has not yet been made public, to arrive in Colombia once the FARC announced the date of Langlois’s release, the former senator, who was removed from office in 2010 for her links to the rebel group, told RCN La Radio on Saturday.

Authorities are working on the logistics of the operation and in the coming hours they are scheduled to deliver a draft of the security protocol to representatives of the Defense Ministry as a first step toward presenting it to the “other parties” for mutual agreement, Red Cross spokeswoman Maria Cristina Rivera told Efe.

Langlois was accompanying a task force of police and troops when the contingent was ambushed by FARC units, sparking a battle that left four members of the security forces dead.

The journalist was wounded in the firefight and fled toward the rebel lines, after shedding the army helmet and bulletproof vest he was wearing.

A FARC medic treated Langlois’ wound, but the rebels then decided to hold him as a prisoner of war.

“Romeo Langlois wore regular-army military garb in the middle of a battle. We believe the least that can be expected for the full recovery of his freedom is the opening of a broad national and international debate on the freedom of information,” the FARC said in an earlier statement.

Langlois, the Colombia correspondent for France 24 television and Paris daily Le Figaro, went missing April 28 amid fighting between rebels and soldiers in the jungles of the southern province of Caqueta.