Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered the resumption of bombing raids against FARC rebels after an attack he blamed on the group killed 10 soldiers, a move that will intensify combat after efforts to cool tensions.
As part of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Santos last month stopped air raids on rebel hideouts in recognition of a unilateral ceasefire declared in December by the insurgent group.
The soldiers were killed in rural southwestern Cauca province in the early hours of Wednesday when the FARC launched an ambush, hurling grenades and firing on them as they sheltered in a covered sports pitch, the army said.
This incident was a product of a deliberate attack by the FARC, it was not a coincidence and this implies a clear rupture of the promise of a unilateral ceasefire, Santos said after meeting with his defense team in the city of Cali.
I have ordered the armed forces to lift the suspension of bombings on FARC camps. Santos said the attack, which also killed a FARC fighter, would not go unpunished. At least nine government troops were confirmed injured.
Although the incident is unlikely to derail the 2-year-old peace talks in Cuba, it is the first major clash blamed on the FARC since their ceasefire declaration.
Talks were suspended last year after the rebels kidnapped an army general and several soldiers. They have since been freed.
FARC leader Pablo Catatumbo said the group regretted the events, which were not premeditated. He said the leadership was evaluating the situation and a statement may be issued later.
The confrontation seems to be caused by the incoherence on the part of the government - ordering military operations against a rebel force in ceasefire, FARC negotiator Pastor Alape told reporters earlier in Havana. He reiterated the demand for a bilateral ceasefire.
Santos has refused to call a complete end to military action even though he has acknowledged that until now the FARC has adhered to its ceasefire.
The FARC exploited a ceasefire period during a previous peace process more than a decade ago to regroup and build up military strength.
Events of this kind and this seriousness show once again the need to accelerate the negotiations to put an end to this conflict which keeps bringing sadness to Colombian families, he said.
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Yet again, the 'common criminals' have proven they cannot be trusted.Apr 16th, 2015 - 11:40 am 0
Just when is the government going to grab this problem and kill the lot of them?
Yes, some will still rise up to take their place but they will all eventually be expunged from the country.
Zuñiga and Uribe predicted that these peace talks were a scam to get Santos re elected. Too bad the Colombians, were fooled by some easy group stage in the WC and the populist lies of Santos and Piedad Cordoba.Apr 16th, 2015 - 12:47 pm 0
We should nationalize Uribe Argetine, the best president in Latin America of the last two decades.
Wait, didn't Obama just certify that Cuba is no longer a haven for terrorists?Apr 16th, 2015 - 01:33 pm 0
Doesn't Cuba support FARC?