Colombia Reinforces Security

By Dialogo
July 12, 2011

Colombia will reinforce security in a southern state struck by multiple attacks in the course of a weekend during which presumed rebels detonated a horse loaded with explosives and two police officers died in other incidents, the authorities said.

Colombia is fighting leftist rebels and criminal gangs, and although security has improved in recent years, illegal armed groups continue to clash with the government.

The police said that two officers were shot and killed on Sunday in the southern state of Cauca, where rebels detonated a car bomb, a bus bomb, and another explosive device a day earlier, killing three people and wounding another seventy-seven.

President Juan Manuel Santos said that he was going to send police reinforcements, army troops, and special forces to Cauca, an area plagued by violence generated by drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare.

Santos also said that the government will create another mountain battalion for the area.

“We’ve made the decision that from now on, government forces are going to destroy any house used by terrorists to attack government forces or the civilian population: no more use of houses to shoot at government forces or the civilian population,” Santos said.

Local media reported on Sunday that presumed fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) detonated a horse loaded with explosives, wounding two soldiers in the southern province of Caquetá.

The security situation has deteriorated this year in the departments of Cauca, Caquetá, Northern Santander, Arauca, and Antioquía, according to the Colombian institution New Rainbow Corporation (Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris).

The attacks occurred a week after the leader of the FARC, Colombia’s most important guerrilla group, succeeded in evading capture by security forces. The FARC has intensified the violence in the country, which is the world’s leading producer of cocaine.

Santos, who took office in August, has promised to maintain the hard-line policies of his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, against leftist rebels, paramilitary gangs, and cocaine traffickers.