Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Colombia: As Peace Talks with FARC Bogg Down, 22 Soldiers Killed by Rebels

According to The Latin American Tribune, at least 17 soldiers were killed in an ambush staged by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels in Arauca province, which borders Venezuela, while four other soldiers were killed in fighting with the guerrilla group in the southern province of Caqueta.

The soldiers were killed on Saturday (July 20), when Colombia marked the 203rd anniversary of its independence from Spain.

The ambush in Arauca was conducted by the FARC in El Mordisco, a rural area along the highway that links the cities of Fortul and Tame.

The firefight in Caqueta left three soldiers wounded, the Colombian Army's 12th Brigade said in a statement.

Six guerrillas were killed and two others were captured by government troops.

COMMENT: President Juan Manuel Santos called on citizens and Colombia’s political parties to back the peace talks his administration has been holding with the FARC for the past eight months.

Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

It should be noted that the FARC, Colombia's oldest and largest rebel group, has been engaged in operations against the Colombian government since 1964, a period of nearly half a century.

Although the FARC has been engaged in peace talks for nearly a year, many observers believe that the FARC has never been serious about peace, but rather has used the peace talks to enable the group to bolster its forces and revitalize its supply lines.