domingo, 25 de agosto de 2013

Guerrilla attack kills 13 Colombian soldiers

Thirteen or 14 Colombian soldiers were killed late on 24 August in a bomb attack followed by gunfire in the village of Flor Amarillo between Tame and Arauca near Venezuela's frontier; the attack was attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)'s Alfredo Castellanos mobile column. The soldiers were apparently killed when a 30-member patrol approached a house filled with explosives, which the FARC detonated before opening fire and throwing explosive cylinders onto the troops, the broadcaster Caracol and El Tiempo reported on 25 August. Caracol counted two junior officers and 12 soldiers as killed. El Tiempo observed that the ambush was planned, as the FARC had instructed villagers not to leave their homes past nine in the morning on 24 August; the attack reportedly occurred at two or three that afternoon or slightly later. The armed forces then sent fighter planes to the spot and four armoured cars of which one was blown up; two guerrillas were "neutralised" in the counter-attack, likely killed, El Tiempo reported. The attack coincided with the Colombian President's order to renew peace talks with the FARC in Havana on 26 August, after a brief interruption in which he had ordered Colombian negotiators to return. It was not clear if the attack would alter the decision, announced by Colombia's chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle. The interruption followed the FARC's apparent discomfort with a proposed Government initiative to allow Colombians to vote in the manner of a referendum on the talks' outcome, in one of the elections scheduled for 2014. A gun attack on 24 or 25 August on a police station in the district of Hacarí in the Norte de Santander department injured a soldier, but was repelled, Caracol reported. The attack was attributed to the National Liberation Army (ELN); troops fired back and prevented the guerrillas' "advance" on the town, Caracol radio reported.