French envoy frustrated over reporter release delay

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The French ambassador to Colombia voiced doubts on May 23 over the promised release of France 24 reporter Roméo Langlois, saying he hopes the case does not become a “real kidnapping.”

Ambassador Pierre-Jean Vandoorne’s comments came 10 days after Red Cross officials in Bogotá said they were optimistic Langlois would be released soon.

“I hope that what was at first not an abduction, does not over time become a real kidnapping, contrary to the commitment of those holding Romeo,” Vandoorne told the Caracol radio station.

Langlois, 35, was taken hostage on April 28 by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels while he was filming a counternarcotics operation conducted by government troops.

The FARC promised to hand over Langlois to a group it said must include an official representing French President François Hollande.

Hollande, who took office last week, quickly appointed a representative, but as yet there has been no more progress in securing the reporter’s freedom.

“Now what do they expect?” said Vandoorne. “I think we respected their request.”

After capturing Langlois, the terrorist group called him a “prisoner of war” because he had been wearing an army uniform, flak jacket and helmet.

[AFP (Colombia), 23/05/2012; Caracol Radio (Colombia), 23/05/2012]

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