Colombia: paras, guerillas battle for control of Choc贸

Colombian guerrillas and paramilitary fighters engaged in a bloody gun battle over control of the cocaine trade in western Choc贸 department, leaving at least 75 fighters dead, the Bogota daily El Tiempo reported. Victor Mosquera, a regional human rights observer, said corpses littered the site of the fighting and that many people were missing. Government troops have been rushed to Choc贸.

El Tiempo cited Blanca In茅s Mar铆n, mayor of San Jose del Palmar, as saying that paramilitary fighters from the ostensibly “demobilized” Bloque Pac铆fico, were reportedly attacked by mixed force of guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the little-known Guevarista Revolutionary Army (apparently a breakaway faction of the ELN).

The paramilitary AUC and guerillas have for years been fighting for the control of Choc贸 because it contains strategically important smuggling routes along the Pacific Coast. (Venezuela Daily Journal, DPA, Oct. 30)

See our last post on Colombia, and Choc贸.