Latin America & Caribbean

French reporter Romeo Langlois freed in Colombia by Farc rebels

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Media captionA smiling Mr Langlois spoke to reporters after his release

French journalist Romeo Langlois, abducted a month ago by left-wing Farc rebels in Colombia, has been released.

He was handed over to a group of international mediators in the jungle in the south of the country.

A smiling Mr Langlois spoke to reporters and said that he was fine and had been well-treated.

The France 24 reporter was captured while filming the destruction of cocaine laboratories by army soldiers in the Caqueta region.

Colombia suspended operations in the area for the handover.

On Sunday, the rebels announced they would release Mr Langlois, 35, to a mediation committee consisting of members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), French envoy Jean-Baptiste Chauvin and peace activist Piedad Cordoba.

The journalist walked through a crowd of villagers with Farc rebels before giving a short news conference.

"Other than being held for a month after being wounded, the rest has gone well," he said, adding that he was "a little tired but fine".

"I was treated just like any guerrilla combatant who was injured, I mean, it was harsh with few supplies, with what there was, but I was never tied up... They always treated me like a guest," he added.

But Mr Langlois also said he was sorry both sides in the conflict had tried to use him for political reasons.

From the village of San Isidro, Mr Langlois will go to the city of Florencia, in Caqueta, a few hours away by road.

It is not yet clear whether he will spent the night there, or if he will then travel to the Colombian capital, or go straight to France.


Mr Langlois had been filming the destruction of cocaine laboratories by army soldiers in the Caqueta region.

Image caption Romeo Langlois was wounded in the arm when he was abducted

The army said he was wounded in the arm when the group came under attack.

He then ran towards the rebels who later declared him a "prisoner of war".

A video broadcast by Venezuelan TV channel Telesur earlier this week showed Mr Langlois in a camp in the jungle.

He appeared with a bandage around his left elbow and was also shown being treated for his wound.

Mr Langlois said he expected his reporting trip to last no more than a couple of hours.

"You know what you are exposed to when you undertake this kind of activity, but the truth is I didn't think it was going to get so big," he said.

He said he did not know the area was a danger zone.

It is not clear when the video was recorded.

Despite his experience Mr Langlois hopes the Colombian army will keep taking journalists to the front line saying: "This is a forgotten conflict, and we need to keep covering it from both sides".

Since 2002 Farc has seen its numbers halved in the face of concerted attacks from the US-backed military.

But in the last three years they have stepped up their attacks and re-taken the initiative in some parts of the country, helped with income from the drugs trade and extortion.

Caqueta is home to the Farc's Southern Bloc, one of seven fighting divisions spread across the country.

The area is also important for the cocaine trade, with guerrillas growing coca and processing cocaine.

In February Farc announced it was ending its policy of kidnappings, and earlier this month released 10 hostages who had been held for more than a decade.

The Farc commander-in-chief, Rodrigo Londono, better known by his alias of Timochenko, has offered to hold peace talks with the government. So far President Juan Manuel Santos has refused.

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