Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said there were "very clear signs" that a French journalist had indeed been kidnapped by leftist FARC rebels after a weekend gunbattle in the jungle.
Romeo Langlois, a 35-year-old reporter for global television network France 24, was reported missing after Saturday's firefight between security forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the south of the country.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe earlier said that Langlois -- who reportedly suffered a bullet wound to the arm in the crossfire -- had probably been taken hostage.
Santos, speaking to reporters at the presidential palace in Bogota, said there were "very clear signs that the French journalist is in FARC captivity."
"I would like to ask the FARC to liberate him as soon as possible, especially as we have learned he was injured," Santos said.
"A few weeks ago, (the FARC) promised Colombians and the world that they would stop kidnappings. (...) Stay true to your word. The FARC alone will be held accountable for anything that happens to this journalist."
Four Colombian soldiers were killed and eight others wounded in Saturday's battle in the southern jungle department of Caqueta, some 600 kilometers (370 miles) south of Bogota.
Langlois had been accompanying soldiers who destroyed five cocaine production labs in the area.
"We continue our search efforts where the terrorist group operates... we're running flights day and night," Colombian Air Force commander Tito Saul Pinilla earlier told reporters.
Colombian soldiers said they were attacked by rebels dressed as civilians.
Langlois was wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest but after he was shot in his left arm, he apparently took off the military gear and walked towards the guerrillas, identifying himself as a civilian journalist.
Whoever is holding Langlois has "a duty to protect his life," said Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, adding there were currently no plans for a military rescue of Langlois.
Officials said no ransom demands have been received, and there has been no contact with the FARC since the reporter vanished.
On Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Colombia offered to mediate Langlois's release if indeed he is being held by the guerrillas.
"We are willing and ready to collaborate... as long as it is confirmed that the journalist has been kidnapped by the FARC," spokeswoman Maria Cristina Rivera told AFP.
Juppe said his government was "in permanent contact with Colombian authorities" on the situation, and to work for Langlois's release.
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.
Successful government strikes have weakened the FARC in the past years, but recently the rate of the guerrilla attacks has 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 on July 2, 2008.© ANP/AFP