Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Feb 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Authorities say 14 bombs, minefields deactivated in southwest Colombia

Bomb squad

Colombian authorities said Saturday they have seized and deactivated over a dozen explosives in the southwest of the country where over the past week several alleged FARC bomb attacks killed at least 19 people and left 78 injured.

According to the authorities, five booby traps, one minefield, four bombs and three car bombs were disabled or detonated in the department of Cauca.

The seizures follow a week of particularly bloody terrorist attacks on towns in the southwestern region of the country.

Three deadly attacks, all atributed to the FARC, were carried out in the departments of Nariño, Cauca and Tolima. While one attack was aimed at a police station, most fatalities were civilians, according to Colombian media.

The attacks forced Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to again send reinforcements to the region, something he had already said to do in September amid a FARC offensive on security forces and towns.

The increase in FARC attacks has been followed by an increase in criticism by Santos’ predecessor Alvaro Uribe and his allies and supporters who accuse the president of destroying security-related accomplishments made by Uribe.

Security analyst and Uribe supporter Alfredo Rangel told Dow Jones that guerrilla attacks have been on the rise for two years, and are now intensifying. However, Rangel’s numbers are being contradicted by a recent report by the leftist think tank Nuevo Arco Iris that measured an increase in attacks since 2004 with a sharp increase after 2007.