lunes, 22 de octubre de 2012

Colombian guerrillas fighting amid peace talks

The Colombian government had ruled out suspending military action during peace talks it began in October with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the FARC took note: late on 19 or on 20 October suspected FARC guerrillas killed five soldiers in a bomb attack on a patrol in the southern department of Putumayo, Europa Press reported, citing Colombian media and officials. Twelve soldiers were injured in the attack in the Puerto Asís district, near Ecuador. President Juan Manuel Santos deplored the "vile attack" writing on the website Twitter, Reuters reported. The agency observed that violence might increase during peace talks as both sides sought to show strength on the ground. On 21 October, Colombian troops found a FARC "refinery" in the south-western department of Nariño, where crude oil stolen from the Transandino pipeline was stored and processed, EFE reported, citing army declarations. The army recovered 37,000 litres of crude oil from the store, in the district of Ricaurte. The Venezuelan daily El Nacional was separately reported to have published the names of 27 Venezuelans allegedly held by the FARC, some for as long as a decade; the list was given it by relatives of the disappeared, Europa Press reported on 21 October. The head of the civil association Venezuela Libre de Secuestros Porfirio Dávila, has urged the Venezuelan government to speak to the FARC on the kidnappings on the sidelines of talks between the Colombian state and the FARC. He said families of the kidnapped had received no support from state institutions or the police. The Venezuelan government - which sympathises with the FARC - reportedly rejects reports that the FARC hold any Venezuelans. Europa Press cited Venezuelan diplomats as saying that Venezuela, which is "accompanying" the talks, could not introduce items onto its set agenda. They said the issue might be discussed informally. That would be doing a favour to Carlos Rosales García, one of the Venezuelans on the list apparently kidnapped in 2002 - and the least to be expected of representatives of his country. Doubtless losing patience with the pace and resolve of the Venezuelan state, his father took pictures of his son to Bogotá in 2005 where he showed them to Interpol. Colombia was following his son's case, Venezuela's El Diario de Huila reported on 22 October.

Police find 24 bodies in Acapulco

Police have found 24 bodies buried in 10 graves in an isolated point in Mexico's west-coast resort of Acapulco, after a month-long search that followed an anonymous phone tip; a caller informed police in September that criminals seemed to be burying their victims in La Piedra del Chivo, a high point overlooking the Bay of Acapulco. A first body was found on 12 September and excavations so far have yielded 23 more "human remains," Milenio reported on 22 October. The point is located between the Icacos and Costa Azul neighbourhoods, and reached after walking 2.5 kilometres. Another phone call on 21 October led a police patrol into an ambush wherein a policeman was killed and three were injured, in the district of Coyuca de Benítez also in the west-coast state of Guerrero. Police were fired on when they arrived at the spot to which they had been called; the assailants escaped after a shootout, Milenio reported. The daily cited police sources as saying that practically all settlements in the highlands of Guerrero between the Coyuca de Benítez and Atoyac de Álvarez districts further north became "ghost towns" after 19:00 hours, as residents stayed inside their homes for fear of crime. Police and troops were reportedly to launch an operation to flush out criminals from this part of Guerrero.