Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC returned to old “hit and run” guerrilla tactics, which may result in the death of “about a thousand” members of the security forces this year, a Colombian conflict analyst told Spanish press agency Efe.
The past week alone, 20 policemen and soldiers were killed in several attacks, which according to analist Jorge Restrepo of the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (Cerac) indicates that the FARC has returned to guerrilla warfare of attacking and then hiding, avoiding combat with state forces.
The death of the guerrillas’ military leader “Mono Jojoy” failed to “deconstruct” the FARC, that still have “a significant operational capability.” the analyst told Efe.
The effectiveness of the guerrilla attacks puts the Colombian conflict “back 15 years” as, according to Restrepo, the guerrillas are carrying out some 60 attacks a week, or “about 700 a year,” which is a number “similar to that of 1994.”
Government figures regarding the deadliness of the guerrilla attacks differ greatly from independent researchers. According to President Juan Manuel Santos, 174 policemen died this year. Restrepo however estimates that by the end of the year “about a thousand” policemen and soldiers will have been killed by guerrillas. Left-leaning think-tank Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris (New Rainbow Foundation) stated recently that nearly 2,000 members of the security forces were either killed or wounded so far this year.
According to Cerac research, the guerrillas have restructured and are focusing their activity in four regions: Uraba, the northwestern corner of Colombia bordering Panama, the northern half of the Venezuelan border, the south western border with Ecuador and the central southern departments of Meta and Caqueta. Nuevo Arco Iris reports that the FARC “recovered territories” in the departments of Caqueta, Huila, Tolima and along the Pacific coast.
The FARC is also active in southern cities like Cali, Buenaventura and Neiva, Cerac claims.
However, Restrepo does “not think there will be a black December” as warned by FARC-friendly news agency Anncol, who earlier this month reported that rebels are “lining up to strike forcefully against the military.”
View FARC activity according to Cerac in a larger map