Colombia’s director of the national police, the country’s senior army commander and the commander of the Air Force all said that they anticipated a FARC attack when the unilateral ceasefire expires on January 20.
“According to the information we have collected, we have seen [FARC set off explosives and] acquire military equipment as insurance to prepare for a terrorist wave once the truce ends,” said Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, the Director of the National Police.
The commander of the Colombian Air Force, General Tito Pinilla said that the intelligence compiled by the Armed Forces and the National Police hint at a possible terrorist attack when the two-month ceasefire ends. Pinilla said that although authorities are ready to combat a possible attack, he noted that FARC usually rely on just one or two guerrillas to carry out sabotage missions which makes detection that much more difficult. The Air Force commander said that FARC will show their true colors on January 21.
“The FARC must understand that the Colombian people [have] also been deceived for many years, so they [FARC] must demonstrate their true desire for peace,” said Pinilla.
Leon Riaño, meanwhile, claimed that FARC has already not complied with their own self-declared unilateral ceasefire — a claim backed up by Colombia’s senior army commander, General Sergio Mantilla.
According to the army commander, four soldiers have been killed and another 22 wounded in seperate FARC attacks since the ceasefire began. Though FARC announced a unilateral ceasefire on November 19, the declaration only pertained to offensive attacks. The rebels never claimed they would lay down their arms completely during this time in case they were pursued by government authorities. But by their own admission, they did break the truce, albeit unknowingly, in the first days of the accord.
Nevertheless, the National Police Director expressed optimism that 2013 will indeed be the year of peace, but claimed that there seems to be a disconnect between the rhetoric expressed in Havana, Cuba by senior FARC leaders, and “the actions on the battlefied.”
Echoing the Minister of Defense, Leon Riaño lauded the fact that “25 leaders of the FARC…were captured or neutralized [in 2012]…[as well as] six ringleaders of the ELN [the country’s second largest guerrilla group].”
“2012 is a landmark year in the fight against crime in Colombia,” concluded the National Police Director.