According to Francisco Santos, ex-vice president in the administration of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) and prominent critic of his cousin, current President Juan Manuel Santos, 28 soldiers and five officers were killed when FARC rebels ambushed a military convoy in Putumayo’s “Puento Lata” district, located in the Puerto Asis municipality.
“The bodies will be handed over to the families in [the] cities of origin,” Francisco Santos said via Twitter on Tuesday.
The information was denied by the Colombian army and the ministry of defense on Wednesday.
“It is not true that 33 soldiers died like he says,” the ministry of defense’s Twitter account said, while the army accused Santos of “disinformation.”
— Mindefensa Colombia (@mindefensa) April 17, 2013
“It would be absurd to pretend to conceal [information to the public], and especially to the family members of the institution’s soldiers, a deed of such dimensions,” the army said.
The ombudsman’s office of Mocoa, the captital of Putumayo, told Colombia Reports they were unaware of any such attack. Furthermore, the human rights Ombudsman of Puerto Asis, where the alleged attack would have taken place, said to this website there were no reports indicating such an attack had taken place.
This is not the first time Colombian authorities have refuted information about major FARC attacks. In March, the FARC published a communique claiming to have killed 16 soldiers in the southwestern Cauca department. The information was denied by the Colombian army, which said only one soldier had died in the rebel ambush.
- Communication with the Mocoa ombudsman’s office
- Communication with the Puerto Asis ombudsman’s office
- Mindefensa desmiente la muerte de 33 militares en Putumayo (El Pais, Cali)
- MinDefensa cuestiona a Francisco Santos por publicar información falsa sobre emboscada (Caracol Radio)