Two policemen and were killed and another four were wounded during a roadside ambush that took place near Colombia’s eastern border with Venezuela, local media reported on Thursday.
The attack occurred near the village of La Javilla after at least 10 heavily armed men set up a roadblock on the Cucuta-Puerto Santander road, and the police went to investigate, according to Cucuta’s La Opinion newspaper.
After the armed men spent 30 minutes “terrorizing” people on the road, the police arrived on the scene, and the fighting broke out.
Two policemen were shot at the onset and rushed to the hospital. After the initial attack, another wave of uniformed officers arrived as backup to continue the onslaught.
One policeman recalled his account of one the officers’ deaths, “I was going forward in the chase. Suddenly, I saw that he had collapsed. I heard him say, ‘they got me.’ He died quickly.”
It is still being investigated as to who was behind the attacks. Speculations persist that it was either the criminal drug trafficking group, “Los Rastrajos,” or Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, according to Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
What is certain is that the attackers were well armed and managed to escape authorities.
“We were met with grenades, but also we struck with all our might. We know that we left several people injured. We found six abandoned backpacks from the campaign,” said Colonel Gonzalo Carrero, police chief of the Cucuta Metropolitan Police.