Colombia: Cauca militarized after deadly FARC attack

Colombian authorities ordered an extra 2,500 army troops to reinforce security in Corinto, a town in southwestern Cauca department, where nine soldiers were killed in a surprise attack by the FARC guerillas early Nov. 10. The decision to reinforce the present security force in the village was taken by Defense Minister Gabriel Silva and armed forces commander Freddy Padilla in an improvised security council. Gabriel Silva, who canceled a planned visit to the town at last minute for security reasons, also offered a 2 billion peso reward for information leading the arrest of Edgar López Gómez AKA “Pacho Chino”—considered the guerrilla commander in charge of the attack.

Authorities say the region around Corinto, 20 miles southeast of Cali, is of strategic importance to the FARC, used for the trafficking of both weapons and drugs. The guerrillas have been escalating attacks in the region in recent months.

In June, Colombia’s Administrative Security Directorate (DAS) claimed the arrest of three guerilla operatives who were planning five simultaneous bombings on Cauca’s historic capital city Popayán. The arrested suspects were said to be part of the FARC’s Jacobo Arenas mobile column. The DAS reportedly seized explosives in the operation. (Colombia Reports, Nov. 11; El Tiempo, Bogotá, Nov. 10; Colombia Reports, June 14)

See our last post on Colombia and the FARC.

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