Conflict resolution organization Colombians for Peace published an open letter calling for the FARC say whether it is responsible for the terrorist attack that killed 14 policemen in the southern department of Caqueta.
The group, which is led by Senator Piedad Cordoba, rejected the attack as “a grave infringement of human rights” that “deserves to be completely rejected.” It called for the FARC “to publicly comment on what happened, indicating whether they are responsible or not.”
Colombians for Peace reiterated their desire to seek a resolution to Colombia’s 50-year conflict through dialogue, and said that “war is not the answer.”
On Sunday Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera ruled out peace talks with the FARC, commenting that the new administration of President Juan Manuel Santos “will never give in to this sort of blackmail.”
Santos took office August 7 amid FARC peace overtures after eight years rebel losses under former president Alvaro Uribe’s hardline anti-insurgent policies.
The new president left the door open to negotiations but demanded FARC first release all its hostages, stop recruiting minors, and halt all violence. But after the fourteen police officers were killed Wednesday in southern Caqueta department when their patrol vehicle went over a land mine – guerrillas shot and burned to death those injured in the blast – the government’s stance hardened.
Five soldiers were also killed in separate clashes Thursday with FARC guerrillas in the Norte de Santander and Nariño departments, on the borders with Venezuela and Ecuador respectively.
Interior Minister German Vargas has warned the FARC that the government considers Wednesday’s massacre a “crime against humanity” and that such actions “will never benefit from an amnesty or a pardon.”
The government has offered a COP500 million ($275,000) reward for information leading to the capture of the FARC commander suspected of masterminding the Caqueta bombing, known by the alias “Wilmer.”