Colombia Deploys 300 Soldiers to Confront Guerrilla Group

By Dialogo
March 02, 2012

On February 28, the Colombian Army deployed 300 Military personnel to contain attacks by the FARC guerrilla group in the country’s southwest, where at least seven Soldiers have died since last week, the Air Force announced in a statement.

The uniformed personnel were transferred on the same day to the city of Popayán, the capital of the department of Cauca (in southwestern Colombia), where a security-council meeting chaired by President Juan Manuel Santos was held on February 27.

Several Cauca localities have been the site of attacks attributed to the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist group) in recent days, such as an attack with explosives against the police and Military command posts in the town of Caldono on February 27, an incident in which no deaths among uniformed personnel have been reported.

In a similar act of aggression on February 20, three Soldiers died in the town of El Palo (Cauca), while four more died in combat with guerrillas last weekend in the department of Putumayo (in southwestern Colombia), which neighbors Cauca.

“It’s no secret that the security situation in Cauca deserves our full attention. That’s why we’re here,” Santos declared at the conclusion of the council meeting.

The most serious attacks with explosives reported so far this year were against police stations in two municipalities in southwestern Colombia: Villa Rica (Cauca) and Tumaco (Nariño).
In those two attacks, which took place in early February, at least 15 people died and around 100 were injured, the great majority passers-by.

The FARC, who currently have around 9,000 combatants according to official figures, carried out 2,148 armed actions last year, 10 percent more than in 2010, and are showing a tendency to increase their activity, Nuevo Arco Iris [New Rainbow], an NGO specialized in the Colombian armed conflict, warned this month.