The Farc handed over Romeo Langlois on their movement’s 48th anniversary on a specially built stage, hanging pro-peace banners and organising a barbecue.
The rebels and the roughly 2,000 people they convened for the handover to a humanitarian commission co-ordinated by the International Red Cross applauded vigorously when Langlois said he appreciated how the guerrillas “live in the mud and risk their lives”.
“They never tied me up,” said Langlois, 35. “Rather, they always treated me as a guest. They gave me good food … They were always respectful.”
Langlos was shot in the left arm during a 28 April attack by rebels on soldiers he was accompanying on a mission to destroy cocaine laboratories. Three soldiers and a police officer were killed in the morning-long shootout. A guerrilla commander, Calacho Mendoza, said Langlois had been lucky because an AK-47 bullet entered the reporter’s left arm above the elbow and exited the forearm without damaging bone or cartilage.
Langlois said he watched a sergeant die one metre away during the battle. Before fleeing toward the rebels Langlois shed his helmet and body armour â€“ the outfit had made the Farc rebels mistake him for a US or Israeli soldier, said Mendoza, who also publicly apologised for the Farc initially referring to the Frenchman in a communique as “a prisoner of war”.
“I didn’t need this experience to know the Colombian conflict or to know the rebels. I’ve been in this a long time,” Langlois said when asked what he took away from his captivity. “What I take from it is the conviction that one must continue covering this conflict.”
He has been reporting on it for more than a decade for France24 television and the newspaper Le Figaro.
“I hope the army doesn’t stop taking people to conflict zones, and let’s hope the rebels also take journalists with them to show the daily life of their combatants because this conflict isn’t being covered,” Langlois said.
Residents of San Isidro, which lacks running water and electricity and lives off cattle and coca, slaughtered six calves for the occasion, and rebel commanders gave brief speeches saying they want peace. Langlois, who recorded the events with a small video camera, said in a brief speech from the stage that “we are at a point at which this conflict has become invisible”.
It was a war in which there are “neither good nor bad” and in which “the poor are killing the poor”, he said.
Don’t let the MSM censor your news as America becomes Great Again. Over 500,000 Americans receive our daily dose of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with Breaking News direct to their inbox—and you can too. Sign up to receive news and views from The 1776Coalition!
We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.