The Colombian military has launched a counter-insurgency offensive to curb rebel attacks on infrastructure, announced Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon on Wednesday.
According to Pinzon, the offensive, dubbed “Plan Republica,” the military increased operations across the country in order to stamp down on the attacks of rebel groups like the FARC and ELN on the oil and mining industry, and electricity infrastructure.
“Plan Republica is an important decision taken with the military high command that aims to continue to strengthen the capacity to protect the infrastructure and improve the efforts that contribute to prevent terrorist attacks that have occurred,” the minister said at a forum in Bogota.
According to the minister, eight battalions will be sent to specific areas of the country where oil and mining infrastructure have been targeted by rebel groups as part of the renewed strategy.
The idea is to acquire more unmanned airplanes to support ground offensives and meet the security objective, said the minister.
The new counter-insurgency offensive came two weeks after President Juan Manuel Santos and guerrilla group FARC — responsible for the vast majority of attacks on infrastructure — announced to begin formal peace negotiations in Norway in October.
Following the announcement of peace talks, Pinzon stressed that while negotiations were being held, the Colombian military would intensify its offensives against both the FARC and ELN.