Colombian rebels say they'll free French journalist
May 14, 2012 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
- Officials say Romeo Langlois has been missing since an April 28 rebel attack
- The International Committee of the Red Cross says it ready to help with a release
- Kidnapping government forces and civilians are a key strategy of the rebel group, FARC.
- Colombia's president calls on rebels to free the reporter "and simply tell us where he is"
Colombian rebels called for a committee composed of former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba, a representative of newly elected French President Francois Hollande and the International Committee off the Red Cross to arrange for the journalist's transfer.
Cordoba, a human rights activist, has been instrumental in many hostage releases involving the rebel group. She most recently spearheaded this year's release of the last 10 government hostages held by the guerrilla group.
ICRC Spokesman Daniel Munoz said the group is ready facilitate the release.
"We hope (the rebels) will contact us again, this time to give us a date and time," Munoz said. "We reiterate we are at their disposal with our boats, with our cars, with all our logistics, with all our delegates, anywhere in the country."
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said this month that his government would do whatever was necessary to guarantee Langlois' release.
"The Colombian government is willing to provide all the facilities so the release occurs as quickly as possible, but if you really want to be viewed well by the world, release him now and simply tell us where he is and we will go get him. "
Langlois, who works for France 24 and is a war reporter with more than 10 years experience in the country, was reporting alongside soldiers when the rebel group attacked, the Colombian government said.
During the raid, a sergeant, two soldiers and a national police officer were killed, the Ministry of National Defense said; six others were injured.
The Colombian government is expected to hold a hearing on the April 28 operation. Colombian defense minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, along with the Commandant of the Colombian Army Gen. Alejandro Navas are expected to take part..
Kidnapping government forces and civilians has been a key strategy of the rebel group.
Dramatic rescues, escapes and hostage handovers have revealed harsh conditions in jungle camps, including stories of prisoners chained to trees, grueling marches between hideouts, torrential rain and blistering sun.
While severely weakened in recent years, the rebels have continued to carry out kidnappings and attack security forces.
The 10 hostages released last month were members of the military and police that FARC said were its last government hostages. In February, FARC also said it would stop kidnapping civilians for money.The rebels did not address the fate of its civilian captives then, nor did it renounce kidnapping for political purposes