Members of Colombia’s army, navy and air force found and destroyed a drug lab and an arms factory believed to belong to FARC and ELN guerrillas in two rural zones in south Colombia. 666 kilos of cocaine were also seized in the raids.
A stash of weapons, including explosives, more than 9,000 bullets – many filled with cyanide, detonating cord, mortar launchers and 60 grenades were found in El Tambo, in the Cauca department.
“We destroyed a factory for 60 and 81mm mortars and dozens of grenades, as well as tools to make those grenades, which the rebels call ‘tatucos’,” General Jairo Herazo told journalists.
“That ammunition will now do no harm to the armed forces or the civilian population. This is a big blow, because they may have guns but they won’t be able to fire them,” Herazo said.
Meanwhile 666 kilos of cocaine, chemicals products and drug manufacturing equipment were found in a drug lab in the rural zone of Argelia, also in Cauca.
Herazo said authorities believed that the seized items are believed to belong to FARC and ELN guerrillas groups, both of which are active in the region. No combat was entered into and no arrests were made, Herazo said.
However, the general told press that a total of 23 guerrillas had demobilized and turned themselves over to authorities in the last ten days.
“Ten of them belonged to the ELN and 13 to the FARC,” Herazo said.
On Thursday the Colombian army found and seized a mortar launcher, 70 landmines and 60 kilos of explosives, believed to belong to the FARC’s Gabriel Galvis faction in a rural zone in Valle del Cauca.
These latest raids follow a spate of attacks committed by left-wing rebels since President Juan Manuel Santos took office on August 7. His presidency began amid FARC peace overtures, after eight years of rebel losses under former President Alvaro Uribe‘s hardline anti-insurgent policies.
The Colombian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is investigatingallegations that some recent attacks committed by guerrillas may constitute war crimes.
Allegations have been made that guerrillas shot and burned alive some of the fourteen police officers in an attack in Caqueta, after the police patrol vehicle went over a land mine, and stuffed the body of a dead policeman with explosives and planted land mines before withdrawing in an attack in Putumayo.