Colombia: new violence on eastern plains

Seven Colombian soldiers and 11 guerillas were killed over the March 3-4 weekend in the heaviest combat in recent months. Gen. Alejandro Navas, commander of the military’s Omega joint task force, said engagements began early March 3 with a large column from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Puerto Rico, Meta department, on the eastern plains. (Reuters, March 4)

Four national police officers and a civilian were also killed March 3 when a bomb exploded in Neiva, Huila department, where guerillas tried to assassinate the mayor with a car bomb two days earlier. Police found the explosives in a duct at Neiva’s radio station, where rebels had tried to kill Mayor Cielo Gonzalez on March 1, but the bomb exploded as they were moving it. Gonzalez, who has been threatened by the FARC before, escaped the March 1 attack when a bodyguard had the suspicious vehicle towed away. Ten people were wounded when it exploded shortly afterwards. (Irish Times, March 3)

See our last posts on Colombia and the struggle in Meta.