Marxist rebels holding French journalist Romeo Langlois hostage for almost a month said on Sunday they will free him, according to a Red Cross official.

"/> Marxist rebels holding French journalist Romeo Langlois hostage for almost a month said on Sunday they will free him, according to a Red Cross official.

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COLOMBIA

Colombia rebels to free French journalist

Marxist rebels holding French journalist Romeo Langlois hostage for almost a month said on Sunday they will free him, according to a Red Cross official.

Colombia rebels to free French journalist
France 24

“We have received the statement directly from the group… We are pleased with the announcement of the (planned) release, and we are ready to help organize the operation anywhere and as soon as possible,” said Jordi Raich, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia.

Raich said the group indicated it was prepared to free the Frenchman in a demobilized area to a group that would include ICRC representatives, an envoy of French president-elect Francois Hollande and former senator and mediator Piedad Cordoba.

“When we get word on the place and time, we can travel by road or river anywhere, as we have done many times,” Raich said.

Langlois, 35, was accompanying soldiers who destroyed five cocaine production labs in southern Colombia when a firefight broke out on April 28th and he was captured by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The FARC rebels have called Langlois a “prisoner of war” because he had been wearing a military helmet and flak jacket when he went missing.

At war with the Colombian government since 1964, the guerrilla group is believed to have some 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas, according to government estimates.

Successful government strikes have weakened the FARC in the past years, but the rate of the guerrilla attacks has recently been on the rise.

In February, the group publicly announced it would abandon kidnapping for ransom. It released its last military and police hostages in early April.

Olga Gomez, president of the Free Country Foundation, however estimates the FARC is holding more than 400 civilians hostage. The FARC says the foundation’s numbers are false and biased, but has released no figures of its own.

The last French national held by the FARC was Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian senator and presidential candidate. She was abducted during her presidential campaign in February 2002, along with her assistant, Clara Rojas.

Betancourt and 14 other hostages — including three US military contractors — were freed in an operation by the Colombian military in July 2008.

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DRUG

Narco brothers ‘Benny’ and ‘Angel’ extradited from Spain to USA

Two Pakistani brothers have been extradited to New York to face charges that they conspired to smuggle heroin into America and sell missile launchers to Colombian rebels, prosecutors said.

Narco brothers 'Benny' and 'Angel' extradited from Spain to USA
The two men were extradited from Spain to face charges in the US

Hameed Chishti, 47, nicknamed Benny, and Wahab Chishti, 49, also known as Angel, were flown to the United States from Spain last Friday, more than a year after their arrest at American officials' request.

If convicted on all charges, they face between 25 years to life behind bars in an American prison.

They are charged with conspiring to commit narco-terrorism, to provide support to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to import heroin into the United States and unlawfully sell missile launchers.

Prosecutors allege that the brothers agreed to sell heroin to people they believed were FARC, but who were actually undercover informants, thinking it would be smuggled into the United States.

In April 2014, the Chishtis allegedly arranged delivery of a one-kilo heroin sample to presumed FARC cronies in the Netherlands.

They then agreed to sell them weapons after the alleged FARC members claimed to want to buy Russian-made surface-to-air missiles to protect their drug-trafficking empire in Colombia.

After Hameed Chishti forwarded bank account details for payment for the missiles, the brothers were arrested in June 2014 in Spain, where they lived, prosecutors said.

They appeared before a US magistrate on Friday as prosecutors seek the extradition of two more defendants from Spain – delayed because they are seeking asylum.

The Chishtis “illustrate once again that drug trafficking and terror conspiracies often intersect, support, and facilitate each other's dangerous and potential deadly plots,” said Mark Hamlet, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge.

The United States declared FARC a terrorist organization in 1997.

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