At Least 18 FARC Guerrillas Killed On Border With Ecuador
By Dialogo September 21, 2010At least eighteen FARC guerrillas died in combat and a subsequent bombardment by government forces in the Colombian municipality of San Miguel (in the southern part of the country, on the border with Ecuador), Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera announced.
“The operation is underway, and the bulletin we can provide as of now is eighteen casualties among the FARC terrorists,” Rivera told the press in Bogotá before traveling to the area of the fighting, located in the jungle department (province) of Putumayo, bordering on Ecuador and Peru. “We’re going there in order to consolidate” the offensive, he emphasized.
Police, soldiers, and Colombian Air Force (FAC) planes and helicopters participated in the action, according to other Defense Ministry sources cited by the press.
The troops bombarded at least three rebel camps in a jungle area near the San Miguel River, which marks the border between Colombia and Ecuador, military officers said.
The events took place Sunday morning in the same region where a commando squad of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed eight police officers and wounded four on 10 September, the sources indicated.
Rivera and the military commanders did not make an immediate announcement about deaths or injuries among the members of the government forces confronting the rebels from the FARC’s Front 48.
The minister traveled to Putumayo accompanied by the director of the National Police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, and several military commanders, the Defense Ministry announced.
The authorities are investigating whether the dead rebels include two Front 48 commanders accused of drug trafficking and of supplying arms and explosives to around seven hundred insurgents who operate on Colombia’s border with Ecuador, according to ministry sources.
The events at San Miguel took place a day after Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced the relaunching of the country’s “democratic security” policy, following attacks attributed to the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) that have left at least forty police officers and military personnel dead this month in Putumayo and other regions.
The new policy will also include strategies to check the violence committed by drug traffickers, gang members, demobilized paramilitaries, and other criminals in the cities, according to other administration sources.