The State Council, Colombia’s highest administrative court, found that out-dated weaponry and insufficient training contributed to the death and kidnapping of Colombian soldiers during a FARC assault in January 1997.
Around 300 guerrillas from FARC’s 57th Front launched an assault on a military base in the northwestern department of Choco, leaving three dead and eight wounded. Ten members of the armed forces were kidnapped during the raid.
The court criticized the military’s leadership, arguing that they failed to fix known structural flaws in the army. Some of the machine guns used by the soldiers were reportedly held together with wire, while rifles and grenade launchers frequently jammed.
The State Council warned that such problems must not be tolerated as it threatens the lives and safety of members of the security forces.
A similar ruling was handed down in early August when the State Council blamed and fined the government for “communication faults” in a 1996 FARC attack that killed 22 soldiers.