FARC Escalate Attacks In Southern Colombia

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At least twelve police officers and soldiers have been killed since Tuesday in attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colomba (FARC). The guerrillas may be launching a renewed offensive in response to the death of their top military commander Jorge Briceño Suarez in September.

The most recent attack took place Wednesday morning in the department of Cauca, when the guerrillas opened fire on a military encampment. Three soldiers were killed and five others are unaccounted for, reports El Tiempo. Cauca has long been a rebel stronghold but direct attacks on military camps, even rural ones, is still a bold move by the guerrillas, who typically harass the security forces with sniper fire or roadside bombs.

On Tuesday, the FARC killed four police officers providing security for coca eradicators working in Guaviare. Teams of coca eradicators often attract sniper attacks from the guerrilla, especially in departments with dense coca cultivations, including Nariño, northern Antioquia, and Guaviare. In October, a U.N. representative accompanying an eradication team was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Nariño.

Tuesday also saw combat in Vistahermosa and Mapiripan, Meta, between the FARC and the Army. These two municipalities are near where the FARC’s military head, Jorge Briceño Suarez, was killed in September in La Macarena, Meta. Three soldiers were killed and at least another two injured after a firefight with the FARC’s 27th Front in Vistahermosa. The guerrillas also planted two bodies loaded with explosives on a road leading out of Vistahermosa, local radio station Notillano is reporting. 

Another two police officers were also killed in an ambush in Caqueta on Tuesday. The police were manning a roadblock in the small town of Puerto Rico when a group of alleged guerrillas traveling in a red Nissan opened fire, reports local paper La Nacion

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