Army Says Captured FARC Leader is Responsible for IED, 10 Deaths

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The Colombian Army has captured a leader of FARC‘s 10th Front, presumed responsible for an attack using improvised explosive device (IED) that left 10 soldiers dead and 13 wounded on Saturday in the Arauca department, on Colombia‘s northern border with Venezuela.

The leader, who was identified only as ‘El Perico’ in an El Espectador article, is allegedly the head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) milicias in the area where the bomb exploded. Saturday’s attack occurred less than 24 hours after another guerrilla attack left 10 soldiers dead and six seriously wounded in the western Nariño department, which lies on Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador.

President Santos is facing criticism for a flawed approach to providing security in Colombia as the country prepares to vote in local and regional elections this week. According to Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), this year’s electoral campaign period is the most violent in Colombia’s recent history. At least 41 candidates have been killed and allegations of widespread corruption, fraud and insecurity seriously endanger the possibility of free and fair elections, the MOE says (download XL document with violence data here).

The president traveled to Arauca with his new defense minister and top military leaders to analyze the situation and make any adjustments to security protocols deemed necessary to restore order. President Santos replaced his defense minister and military high command in September and provided additional resources to improve intelligence gathering about the Marxist rebel and criminal groups operating in the country.

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