Colombia’s FARC rebels 'holding French reporter'
Bogota: French journalist Romeo Langlois is being held as a "prisoner of war", the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a video released on Sunday.
A rebel calling himself "Ancizar" and "Monazo" says in the video, which was posted on a web site, that he is the commander of the FARC's 15th Front and is holding Langlois prisoner.
Langlois was wounded in the arm but "is in good health", the rebel commander said.
The guerrilla commander, who appears in the jungle with other rebels, said the 15th Front fought the armed forces for seven hours on April 28 near a village located in the southern province of Caqueta.
Langlois, the Colombia-based correspondent for global TV network France 24 and Paris daily Le Figaro, was captured "wearing a military uniform" in full combat, the guerrilla commander said.
The French journalist went missing amid fighting between the rebels and soldiers conducting an anti-drug operation in the jungles of Caqueta around La Libertad de la Union Peneya, located about 600 km from Bogota.
"He is in our hands, he is a prisoner of war. He is slightly wounded in an arm. He has received the necessary medical care and is out of danger," the rebel commander said, reading from a communiqué dated April 30.
A woman identifying herself as a member of the FARC's 15th Front told a Colombian journalist last week that Langlois was being held as a "prisoner of war".
In her call on Tuesday to the cell phone of a reporter in Caqueta, the supposed guerrilla said the French journalist was declared a prisoner of war because he was wearing military garb and captured during combat.
The statement read by Ancizar in the video released on Sunday was apparently the same communiqué.
The rebel commander acknowledges that the Army killed three FARC fighters and wounded a fourth, but he claims the guerrillas killed 19 soldiers and police officers, and "recovered" some arms and ammunition.
The rebel chief also criticised the Air Force for indiscriminately bombing houses in the village.
Langlois, who "is really French and a journalist", is in the hands of the FARC, and "we expect to overcome this impasse soon", the rebel commander said.
The FARC's 15th Front is known for its huge drug trafficking operations, handling more than 30 tonnes of cocaine annually and dealing with Mexico's powerful Sinaloa cartel, the El Tiempo newspaper reported.