French Journalist Released in Colombia
By Dialogo May 31, 2012
French journalist Romeo Langlois, detained by the Colombian FARC in April, arrived at the location for his release, in a hamlet in the jungles of Caquetá (South), on May 30, apparently in good health, AFP confirmed.
Wearing a gray shirt and black pants, the journalist arrived by car at 1:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. GMT), spoke to the press surrounded by guerrillas, and was shortly turned over to a humanitarian commission that expected him on site.
“Other than having been detained for a month when I was wounded, everything else has gone very well. I can’t complain,” Langlois said in his initial statements to the media at the location, stating that he was never tied up during his slightly more than a month of captivity.
“They always treated me as a guest (…) they were always respectful,” he added.
Langlois fell into the hands of the FARC on April 28, when the Military patrol with which he was travelling for a story on anti-drug operations was attacked by guerrillas in Caquetá.
Four Military personnel died in the clash, and the journalist was wounded in one arm, after which he is believed to have surrendered to the guerrillas.
“I didn’t need this experience to get to know the Colombian conflict or the guerrilla group. I’m convinced that it’s necessary to continue covering this conflict. There’s been a lot of politics around my case, from many sides. It seems sad to me that they need to detain people to get people to come to this area,” he also declared.
Minutes after entering the town in which he was released, Langlois began filming, using a small video camera.
The humanitarian mission, made up of former Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba, French government envoy Jean-Baptiste Chauvin, and delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), arrived in the hamlet of San Isidro around 11:00 a.m. (4:00 p.m. GMT) on May 30.
Since the early morning, numerous guerrillas, including several women, wearing impeccable olive-green uniforms and rubber boots and armed with rifles, roamed the streets.
On his arrival in San Isidro, Chauvin stated that “the French government’s desire is that Langlois be able to reunite with his family members as soon as possible and return to his work as a journalist.”
Two weeks earlier, the FARC had announced its intention to unilaterally turn him over to a humanitarian mission.