Embedded Journalist with Colombian Military is taken Prisoner after Brutal Firefight

first published on June 21, 2019 by

France 24 journalist Romeo Langlois is taken prisoner by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerillas during a Colombian military counter-narcotics operation in 2012. He records the dramatic event from the initial air-assault to just moments before his capture, when a Colombian soldier is killed just a few feet away.

Embedded with a Colombian “commando unit” during a counter-narcotics operation in the jungle, journalist Romeo Langlois begins what would ultimately become a 33-day ordeal. The film kicks off with the Colombian troops loading up and taking off in helicopters in the early morning hours. After inserting into a jungle clearing, they quickly identify and destroy a lone drug lab. After this initial success, they load back up in the helos and redeploy to another LZ to continue the operation.

Once in the second LZ however, FARC guerillas begin to engage the troops and their supporting aircraft above. The Colombian soldiers keep pushing and begin sweeping the nearby village; questioning the locals and finding more evidence of the drug trade in the area. Sporadic fire from the guerillas continues, likely a harassment and delaying action to slow down the advancing troops while the rebels regroup. The Colombians coordinate with their air assets and begin strafing potential enemy positions.

Feeling safe with their air support, the soldiers move into to the dense brush surrounding the village to push their attackers back – but the FARC rebels have set a deadly trap. The enemy fire intensifies and becomes acutely more accurate around the 20:30 mark. The journalist and his minders quickly find themselves pinned down and are forced to hug the deck. Now low crawling, enemy rounds begin ripping through them wounding Langlois and killing a sergeant. A solider attempts to aid them and throws a grenade towards the attackers but the guerillas quickly respond with their own grenades and assault the position, capturing Langlois. Four Colombian soldiers were ultimately killed during the operation. Romeo Langlois would spend 33 days in captivity before being safely released by FARC.


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