No date set for journalist's release

Colombia's FARC rebels to free French reporter

GMT 10:45 2012 Monday ,14 May

Arab Today, arab today Colombia's FARC rebels to free French reporter

Romeo Langlois French reporter
Bogota - Agencies

Romeo Langlois French reporter Colombia's FARC guerrilla group has decided to free a French reporter they kidnapped two weeks ago, although they have not given a date for his release, according to the Red Cross. Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia kidnapped Romeo Langlois, a reporter for France 24, during a shootout with troops carrying out an anti-drug raid in Caquetá, a rebel-stronghold in the south.
"The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has received a statement from the FARC in which they say they have decided to release Romeo Langlois," ICRC official Daniel Muñoz told reporters.
Muñoz said the statement did not mention a date for the release of Langlois, but that the FARC has called for the mediation of a committee formed by an envoy from the French government, an ICRC representative and activist and former senator Piedad Córdoba, who would discuss the terms for the Frenchman's release with the rebels.
The ICRC has been told that Langlois is in good health, despite being wounded in his left arm when he was kidnapped on April 28.
On Monday, the group accused the Colombian government of manipulating journalists to bend public opinion against them and called for a debate on freedom of information as a condition for Langlois' release.
President Juan Manuel Santos has repeatedly demanded that the Frenchman be freed, but his defence minister said on Tuesday that they were not going to negotiate with "terrorists".
The FARC started as a Marxist peasant movement in the 1960s and later turned to kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking. It has been labelled a terrorist group by the EU and the US.
Following a US-sponsored crackdown, the FARC been weakened in recent years. Several top commanders have been killed and its fighting force is said to be dwindling.
However, it is still a force in remote jungle areas, and has carried out a string of attacks on oil and mining projects in recent months.
Many youngsters in rural areas, where unemployment is high, voluntarily join every year, but rebels sometimes kidnap children and force them to take part in their armed struggle.
In February the group said it would stop taking hostages for ransom to pay for weapons, uniforms or food. It did not say, however, that it would stop kidnapping for so-called political means to pressure the government.

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