A fleet of special forces soldiers are being sent into the southwest state of Putumayo to protect citizens after an increased amount of attacks on oil tankers allegedly by Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC.
The operation, dubbed “Shock Bishop,” was ordered last week after Colombia’s defense minister evaluated the damage allegedly caused by the FARC, according to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper.
The 200 troops will be placed in areas considered strategic and include the surveillance of military intelligence agents, air coverage, and ground operations.
This month alone, the FARC has been implicated in forcing trucks to spill 5,700 barrels of oil, which contaminated rivers and other water sources in the southwest of Colombia.
This type of damage on the environment and water supply necessitated the call for a humanitarian mission to provide emergency aid and clean water to the population.
The next few days will also be important as there will be legal proceedings against FARC members arrested in Putumayo. The members arrested include members from the 32nd, 48th and 49th Fronts of the South Block of the FARC, according to El Espectador.
The rebel group started peace talks with the government in November 2012; however, the dialogue did not call for a ceasefire. This means that during the talks, the half-century civil war in Colombia continues.
In the midst of peace, rebel groups, such as the ELN, have been accused of attacking infrastructures to gain leverage.
In 2013, the FARC and the second largest rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN) staged 19 successful attacks on energy infrastructures during every month, according to Maplecroft, a global analytics company.
- Ejército refuerza con 200 militares el Putumayo (El Espectador)