sábado, 15 de diciembre de 2012

FARC rebels attack police station in Colombia

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were reported twice so far to have violated the two-month ceasefire they declared from 20 November while negotiating an end to their conflict with the Colombian state; an attack on a police station on 15 December, attributed to Front 34 of the FARC, further reduced the credibility of their pledge. Police in the district of Murindó in the north-western department of Antioquia repelled a 45-minute gunfire attack or shelling of their offices, El Espectador reported, citing EFE and the broadcaster Caracol. A deputy-governor of Antioquia Santiago Londoño Uribe, told Caracol that the FARC had "harrassed" Murindó with gunfire or shelling some 10 times in the past two years. There were no reported casualties in this attack. On 14 December a former president Ernesto Samper Pizano wrote a letter to Colombia's negotiators in Havana urging them to reach an agreement during the ceasefire on "minimal humanitarian" norms to reduce harm to civilians from fighting, RCN Radio reported. Samper was president in 1993-98 although his reputation was tarnished by allegations that a drug cartel contributed funds to his election campaign. Samper wrote that it was "indispensable to protect the civilian population" before peace was attained. The chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle, who was Samper's vice-president in 1994-6, was earlier cited as saying that the aim of talks was not to "humanize" the decades-long conflict with the FARC but end it. Samper wrote that the "humanisation of the conflict whose termination is being negotiated is not an option but an ethical obligation, born of clear constitutional and legal mandates."

Nineteen or more reported killed in Mexico

At least 19 people were reported shot or found dead around Mexico on 13-14 December in incidents mostly thought related to organized crime and cartels, Proceso reported. These included: two bodies found in the northern city of Coahuila, covered by blankets and with an unspecified message by them signed by Z-40 the head of The Zetas cartel, a policeman shot dead in the north-western district of Otáez in the state of Durango, and three people killed in a shootout in a residential building in the north-central city of Celaya. Nine of the dead were from the north-eastern state of Nuevo León, five of these being shot dead in and at the entrance of a house in the city of Monterrey, Proceso reported. A convict was stabbed to death on 14 December in a prison in the district of Iztapalapa outside Mexico City. This occurred hours before Mexico's Primate Archbishop Cardinal Norberto Rivera was to hold mass at the prison, but apparently did not interrupt preparations for the service held annually in this prison, Milenio reported. A man arrested for killing his wife on 13 December told police he shot her during a row after she would not let him sleep; it was not immediately clear if the shooting had been accidental, Proceso reported on 14 December. Neighbours in the Tláhuac district in Mexico City said the couple were drug users; both apparently had been prosecuted for violent thefts and the victim was on prison leave, the Mexico City chief prosecutor was reported as saying. They argued after returning from a party, when she "turned up the music" and prevented him from going to bed. After her death he fired shots into the air and took a woman and her three children hostage for an unspecified time, before being arrested.