The Colombian military forces have increased security in the southern department of Caqueta following a spate of deadly attacks in recent days, with some 2,200 troops in pursuit of the FARC leader accused of orchestrating the incidents, Caracol Radio reported Wednesday.
Two people were killed and at least eight more injured in separate FARC attacks Tuesday, in the municipality of Puerto Rico, Caqueta, prompting the influx of army reinforcements aimed to increase security in the region.
The target of some 2,200 troops is Hernán Diario Velásquez Saldarriaga, alias “El Paisa,” the leader of the FARC’s Teofilo Forero squadron that the military authorities have blamed for perpetrating the deadly attacks upon the population of Puerto Rico municipality.
General Juan Carlos Salazar, commander of the army’s sixth division, said that it is necessary to recognize the capacity of this FARC group to inflict attacks such as on Tuesday, yet it is also pertinent to realize that this FARC structure has been debilitated to the extent that at this time there are only three squadrons compared to the six they had in the past.
During the last four months, Salazar continued, Colombian authorities have neutralized 25 medium-level members of the structure and therefore right now “they are desperately trying to make any type of attack in order to diminish the military pressure on their bosses.”
The government has offered a reward of up to $1.4 million (COP2.5 billion) for information leading to the capture of El Paisa, while there is a $280,000 (COP500 million) on the head of alias “Divan,” who is believed to have participated directly in the recent attacks.