Colombian Army General Alejandro Navas has on Monday categorically denied a claim by left-wing rebel group FARC that 16 soldiers were killed in a recent guerrilla attack in the southwestern department of Cauca.
Navas dismissed the FARC statement as a strategy intended “to confuse and to deceive” the public while attempting to “justify themselves and demonstrate that they are still active.”
In response to the rebel group’s statement, released on March 15, the general confirmed that in the attack one soldier, Ibarra Garzon, was killed after activating a landmine that he confirmed “would have taken out the whole patrol,” had it been in range.
“We communicated with the [soldier’s] family in order to coordinate his funeral in his native town of Rivera, in Huila” he stated, adding that the army never covers up the death of its men.
These are not the first accusations of dishonesty made against the FARC by General Navas; in late Novemember 2012 the general accused the FARC of breaking a unilateral ceasefire. FARC subsequently denied the accusation.
More recently there have been competing claims made regarding the four tons of cocaine the army seized last week. The army attributed ownership to the FARC, a claim which the guerrilla group vehemently denied on Monday.