Santos Calls for French Journalist’s Prompt Release
By Dialogo May 08, 2012
In a statement on May 6, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called for the prompt release of French journalist Romeo Langlois, in the power of the narco-terrorist group FARC since April 28.
“I’m extremely glad to know that the French journalist is in good condition. The FARC has already acknowledged that they’re holding him, and I call on them to release him as soon as possible,” Santos, who is on a visit to Singapore, said according to the statement by his office.
The president stated that his administration “is willing to facilitate [the process] so that this release can take place as soon as possible, but if they really want to make a good impression on the world, they should just release him and simply tell us where he is, and we’ll go get him.”
These statements follow the release of a video in which a FARC guerrilla confirms that Langlois is in the group’s power, admits that he is a French journalist, and expresses his hope that “we will soon get beyond this impasse.”
Thirty-five-year-old Langlois was working on a story for the France 24 television network in the department of Caquetá (in southern Colombia) on April 28, when the Military patrol with which he was travelling was attacked by guerrillas.
The journalist suffered a wound in one arm and is believed to have surrendered to the rebels, identifying himself as a civilian, according to accounts by Soldiers who were accompanying him. Four Military personnel died in the clash, and another eight were wounded.
Apparently, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) declared Langlois a “prisoner of war,” on the grounds that he was captured in combat and was wearing an Army bulletproof vest and helmet, although he is believed to have taken off those items when he surrendered.
With reference to the statement, Santos asserted on May 6 that “journalists are not, cannot be, never have been prisoners of war, and therefore, hopefully they will release him very soon.”