Guerrilla Offensives Leave More Dead and Wounded in Colombia
By Dialogo September 21, 2011
Three actions by the FARC guerrilla group in northeastern and southern Colombia left 4 dead and 12 wounded, including 9 members of Government forces, military and civilian authorities announced on September 18.
Initially, a FARC attack in a rural area of the Colombian municipality of Sardinata (in northeastern Colombia) wounded seven members of Government forces, said General Fernando Pineda, commander of the Army’s 30th Brigade in the area.
“In effect, there was an attack by the FARC’s Squad 33 early Sunday morning. We evacuated two Soldiers and two police officers who were more seriously wounded,” the officer told Bogota radio stations.
Another three police officers were also wounded, the announcement added.
According to Pineda, “the Army reinforced the local police with helicopters and personnel, while operations are continuing” in order to locate the rebels who attacked the town.
The attack took place in the hamlet of Las Mercedes, in a rural area of Sardinata (500 km northeast of Bogota), a “neuralgic” region “for all drug-trafficking activities,” the officer affirmed.
Elsewhere, in a rural area of the municipality of Barbacoas, in the department of Nariño (in southern Colombia), two civilians died and five people, including two police officers, were injured when an explosive device was activated at the same time that around 200 people were participating in a political rally.
Condemning the action, which took place on September 17, the peace advisor of the Nariño Governor’s Office, Javier Hernández, demanded respect for communities’ human rights from armed groups and also asked the national government for “greater results in dealing with the security issue.”
Also on September 17, in the department of Caqueta (in southern Colombia), alleged FARC guerrillas attacked an Army patrol, leaving two Soldiers dead, authorities in the region announced on September 18.
These incidents come on the heels of another FARC attack the day before, targeting a caravan of vehicles, including several tractor-trailers carrying oil, that left one civilian dead.
Also on September 16, FARC guerrillas launched a canister bomb that fell on a school in Caloto, a rural area in the country’s southwest. Colonel José Obdulio Espejo, a spokesperson for the Armed Forces General Command (CGFM), confirmed that at least one minor died, while at least seven or eight others were injured in the incident.
In recent weeks, the FARC guerrilla group has increased its actions against members of Government forces, in what the authorities consider an offensive that has become traditional in the period leading up to elections, as a mechanism for demonstrating the group’s presence and vigor in various regions of the country.
On October 30, Colombians will go to the polls to elect departmental governors, municipal mayors, provincial legislators, municipal councilors, and district commissioners.