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Colombia's FARC rebels say hold French reporter

Associated Press Modified: May 7, 2012 at 12:01 am •  Published: May 6, 2012

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's main rebel group said Sunday that it is holding a French journalist missing since disappearing a week ago during combat.

The ruling secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, did not say if or when the insurgency plans to release Romeo Langlois.

It noted, however, in a communique published online that Langlois "was dressed in military clothing of the regular army" on April 28 when security forces he was accompanying on a cocaine lab-destruction mission were attacked by the FARC.

Accompanying the military on such missions serves the government's propaganda purposes, said the statement, which was dated May 3.

"We think the minimum that can be expected for the recuperation of (Langlois') full mobility is the opening of a national and international debate over the freedom to inform," it continued. "Journalists that Colombia's armed forces take with it on military operations don't adhere to the impartial purpose of informing about reality."

Colombia's defense minister has said that during the combat Langlois removed the helmet and flak jacket that the army had provided and identified himself as a civilian.

In the statement, published by the sympathetic ANNCOL news agency, the FARC leadership warned Colombia's military not to try to rescue Langlois, referring to previous instances when it has killed "prisoners" during perceived government rescue attempts.

Earlier Sunday, in a video released by independent journalist Karl Penhaul, a man who identifies himself as a rebel squadron leader said Langlois was lightly wounded in an arm but was out of danger.

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