Colombian Counternarcotic Mission Deals Heavy Blow in the Cauca Region
By Steven McLoud/Diálogo May 18, 2020
Colombian authorities announced that eight dissidents from the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were neutralized during a joint military counternarcotics operation.
In a statement released to the press, military officials said on April 14 that a specialized unit from the Colombian Army’s Third Division infiltrated the municipality of Algeria, Cauca department, where FARC dissidents and National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish) guerrillas were in the process of launching a narco-terrorist offensive. The cache the military unit seized included various grenade launchers, AR-15 rifles, and several truck-type vehicles.
Lately the Cauca region has become a hot-zone for both FARC dissidents and ELN guerrillas who have been fighting in the strategic area for the cultivation of coca leaves and the transit of drugs to the Pacific Ocean, which are then transported to Central America and the United States. Colombian officials say that this latest incursion by the Armed Forces is one of the most forceful blows dealt to narco-terrorist organizations so far in 2020.
Earlier that week, there were reports of clashes in the Algeria sector between FARC dissidents and ELN guerrillas who have been fighting for drug trafficking routes in the Micay River canyon. Recognized as the last guerrilla group in Colombia, the ELN announced a ceasefire until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, although the group stated that it reserved the right to “defend” itself against aggressions by the state or other armed groups.
The FARC dissidents, who withdrew from the 2016 peace agreement and currently number at around 2,500 members according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, operate without a unified command and Colombian authorities say are directly financed by drug trafficking, illegal gold mining, and other illicit activities.