Colombia: roadside blast hits coca eradication patrol

Nine National Police officers on a coca eradication mission were killed near Landazuri in Colombia’s northeast Santander department May 9, when a roadside bomb exploded, destroying their truck. Six other officers were injured. All were members of a mobile unit operating out of Bucaramanga. Authorities immediately blamed the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). Police Sgt. Alberto Cantillo told reporters: “Where there’s coca, you’ll find guerillas.” Among the dead was the brother of top Colombian football star Luis Yanes, who plays for Santa Fe in Bogota. The attack is another blow for President Alvaro Uribe, who has vowed to crush the FARC by the end of his term in 2010. Last year, 26 military and police officers were killed while on coca eradication missions. (BBC, AlJazeera, May 10)

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