Colombia soldiers alive, French reporter still missing: army

29th April 2012, Comments 0 comments

Five Colombian soldiers who went missing during an attack by leftist rebels have been found alive, but the French television journalist who accompanied them is still missing, military officials said Sunday.

"The five soldiers who went missing have been found by troops. Two of them were injured and three unharmed," a Defense Ministry source told AFP.

But officials said they know nothing about the fate of missing French journalist Romeo Langlois, a reporter with France 24, who was accompanying a military and police patrol in Caqueta province during an attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Three soldiers and one police officer were killed in Saturday's attack military officials said.

Colombian authorities have launched a search operation for the 35-year old journalist.

France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday that Langlois apparently was kidnapped after the gunbattle between government forces and FARC rebels.

"We know the circumstances: He was taken during a clash between Colombian troops and the FARC. The confrontation was brutal, there were deaths, and the journalist was taken prisoner," Juppe told reporters at a political rally in Lyon, France.

Juppe said he had no further information for the moment, but said that the French foreign ministry hostage crisis cell had been activated.

Global television network France 24 said that Langlois had been on assignment for them, reporting alongside Colombian forces carrying out anti-narcotic operations in the south of the country.

"We know that it's a dangerous region. Of course we are worried, but we have confidence in Romeo who knows the region well and is very experienced. We hope therefore that he is safe and well," said editorial director Nahida Nakad.

The FARC has been at war with the Colombian government since 1964 and is believed to have some 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas, according to government estimates.

Their deadliest attack this year was committed last month when the rebels killed 11 soldiers in the town of Arauquita, near the border with Venezuela.

© 2012 AFP

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