Reporters Without Borders

Reviving hopes, FARC rebels say they will free French journalist on 30 May

Reviving hopes, FARC rebels say they will free French journalist on 30 May

Published on Sunday 27 May 2012. Updated on Monday 28 May 2012.
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After holding French journalist Roméo Langlois for a month, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have announced that that he will be released unconditionally on 30 May. The announcement was made in a brief communiqué posted on the FARC website yesterday.

The three-point communiqué says:

Firstly, the release of the French journalist Romeo Langlois will take place on Wednesday, 30 May.

Secondly, the coordinates of the place where Mr. Langlois will be released will be given at the appropriate moment to the humanitarian mission consisting of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Piedad Córdoba [a former senator who has often mediated with the guerrillas] and the French delegate.

Thirdly, we are awaiting publication of the security protocols that are indispensible for the success of this operation. Definite guarantees must exist for the physical safety of all participants in this release.

Signed: 15th Front of the FARC-EP, Southern Block, Mountains of Colombia, 26 May 2012.

“This communiqué should be read as a message of hope,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By keeping the promise made on 6 May to free release Langlois, the FARC will be respecting a solemn pledge given on 26 February to stop holding civilians hostage.

“This pledge must be borne in mind not only as regards Langlois’s release but also, beyond that, with a view to a lasting solution to a civil war that has been undermining Colombia for a half a century. Langlois’s captivity is reminder that this war, which international public opinion often forgets, is still going on. We hope that the 30 May operation’s success will boost the hopes for dialogue and peace.”

Aged 35, Langlois has been based in Colombia since 2002 stringing for media in France (France 24, Le Figaro, Marie-Claire and VSD), Switzerland (L’Hebdo and 24 Heures) and Canada (Radio Canada). An experienced reporter, he has established contacts with all parties to the Colombian conflict and his work with his colleague Pascale Mariani in the field has been widely recognized.

He was captured in the southern department of Caquetá on 28 April while covering an anti-drug operation by an army unit that was ambushed by the FARC.

Inside photo: Ouest-France

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