HomeNewsBrief'FARC Say French Journalist is Prisoner of War'
BRIEF

'FARC Say French Journalist is Prisoner of War'

FARC / 2 MAY 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Colombia's FARC rebel group have apparently released a statement saying that they are holding a missing French journalist as a prisoner of war, according to reports.

A woman claiming to be a guerrilla with the 15th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) telephoned a journalist on Tuesday to say that the group was holding Romeo Langlois. The French journalist went missing on Saturday when an army unit he was embedded with came under fire from the rebels. The statement said:

The 15th Front informs the public that the French journalist, uniformed as a soldier and captured in combat, is in our hands and is a prisoner of war. He is lightly wounded on one arm, he has been given medical attention and is out of danger. Signed, Estado Mayor of the 15th Front, Southern Bloc of the FARC-EP. Mountains of Caqueta, April 30 2012.

The call was received by a Noticias Uno reporter located in Union Peneya, Caqueta province, close to where Langlois disappeared, reports El Espectador.

The army has denied that Langlois was dressed as a soldier. General Javier Enrique Rey Navas said that the journalist had been wearing an olive green helmet and bulletproof vest, for protection, but these were different from those worn by the soldiers, which were in camouflage print. Reports from soldiers on the scene say that, after being wounded by a bullet, Langlois removed his helmet and jacket before approaching the guerrillas, announcing himself as a civilian.

InSight Crime Analysis

Following the announcement, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon accused the rebels of failing to keep to their promise of ending kidnapping. In February, the group released a statement (no longer available on their website) saying that they would end the practice of kidnapping for ransom, as well as freeing their 10 remaining military and police hostages:

Much has been said about the retention of people, men or women of the civilian population, for financial ends for the FARC to sustain our fight. With the same will expressed before, we announce that from this date we forbid this practice in our revolutionary conduct.

Holding Langlois prisoner, then, would not seem to contradict this statement, as the rebels apparently have not demanded a ransom for his release. As InSight Crime pointed out in February, the motivation behind the promise to cease kidnapping civilians for ransom could simply be that this is no longer a big earner for the rebels. They may have decided that kidnapping Colombians and demanding money from their families was not worth the loss in political capital. Holding a French journalist prisoner in order to get international attention and show their power is a different proposition, and may still be attractive for the group.

However, continuing to hold Langlois does clash with the spirit of the February statement, and suggests that peace talks may not be an immediate prospect. The Colombian government has repeatedly said that ending kidnapping is a prerequisite for talks. Many onlookers have pointed out that Langlois cannot be considered a prisoner of war, as he was not armed, and clearly identified himself as a journalist rather than a combatant.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 1 SEP 2021

Emerging from almost six decades of civil conflict, the world’s number one cocaine producer has paid scant attention to environmental…

COLOMBIA / 4 AUG 2022

Alejandra Miller of Colombia’s Truth Commission explained why women and LGBTIQ+ persons were disproportionately affected by the armed conflict.

COLOMBIA / 23 JUL 2021

Once belonging to the demobilized FARC, certain criminal groups seek to reconquer surrendered assets, driving a wave of violence in…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…