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Colombia's Farc to free France 24 journalist to Hollande envoy

France 24

Colombia’s left-wing Farc guerrillas have said they will free France 24 journalist Roméo Langlois to a representative of newly elected French President François Hollande, a Red Cross official said Sunday.

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The Red Cross received the statement “directly from the group” and waiting to be told where to pick him up, the organisation’s Colombia boss Jordi Raich announced.

The Farc stipulated that it would hand Langlois over in a demobilised area to a group that included a Hollande envoy, ICRC representatives and former Colombian senator and mediator Piedad Cordoba.

Langlois, who works for RFI's sister TV channel France 24, was captured while accompanying soldiers who clashed with the guerrillas after destroying five cocaine production laboratories in southern Colombia.

The rebels declared that he was a “prisoner of war” because he was wearing a military helmet and flak jacket.

Colombian soldiers say that he was wounded in the arm during the fighting and surrendered to the guerrillas, declaring that he was journalist.

The kidnapping has aroused protests from rights groups and press freedom campaigners. Colombian journalists’ union Felcoper was among those demanding his release.

In February the Farc announced it would stop carrying out kidnappings for ransom.

In April it freed its last military and police hostages.

Olga Gomez of the Free Country Foundation estimates that the group is still holding more than 400 civilians, a charge that the Farc dismisses as biased without giving figures of its own.
 

The last French national to be held by the Farc was Ingrid Betancourt, who was captured in 2002 and freed in a Colombian military operation in 2008.

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