A French journalist who disappeared after a rebel attack on the Colombian military patrol he was accompanying has been “abducted,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Sunday.
Roméo Langlois, a reporter for France 24 and Le Figaro newspaper, was “taken during a clash between Colombian troops and the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia]… the journalist was taken prisoner,” Juppé said, according to the BBC.
Langlois was accompanying a counter-narcotics patrol on a mission to destroy cocaine laboratories in Caqueta province in southern Colombia, where the FARC are active.
The troops came under attack by heavily armed guerrillas Saturday as they were dropped from helicopters, leaving a police officer and three soldiers dead and at least four other injured.
Five members of the patrol were initially reported missing with Langlois but have since been found alive, Reuters reports.
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In a statement, France 24 said it was working with the French Foreign Ministry and Colombian authorities to "obtain more information about the journalist's whereabouts.”
"We know that it is a dangerous region. We are of course concerned but we trust Romeo, who knows the region well and has a lot of experience," Nahida Nakad, head of its foreign audiovisual editorial operations.
"We hope that he is safe and sound. We are in permanent contact with his family. The whole editorial department of France 24 is worried and has the family in their hearts."
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FARC has been fighting the Colombian government since 1964 and is believed to have some 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas, The Daily Telegraph reports.
FARC rebels killed eight people — including a 9-month-old girl — in two separate attacks in southern Colombia late Thursday night and early Friday morning, while last month the Colombian military bombed a guerrilla camp in central Meta province, killing 35 rebels.
Guerrilla leader Timoleon Jimenez said earlier this month that proposed negotiations with the government did not imply that the rebels intended to throw down their arms any time soon.
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