In a weekend chalk full of rebel violence, members of the FARC — Colombia’s largest left-wing guerrilla group — destroy electricity towers, kill soldiers, and burn several buses in the northwestern department of Antioquia.
Suspected FARC rebels on Saturday sabotaged electricity infrastrucutre in the northern part of the Antioquia department.
“Guerrillas from the 36th Front blew up an electricity tower [in the Yarmual munipality] and left six municipalities without light in the north of Antioquia. The service has [returned] after the intervention of the Public Empresises of Medellin (EPM),” said Gustavo Chavarro, the top commander of the Antioquia police force, according to newscast CM.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring Ituango munipality, FARC rebels dressed in civilian clothing positioned an explosive-laden bus on a local road, effectivly blocking traffic between Ituango and the San Andres de Cuerquia municipality.
“Because of this there is no public service transport as of today [Monday],” said the mayor of Ituango.
In the same municipality another group of FARC guerrillas on Saturday burned an oil transportation truck belonging to a local, private company. Rebels burned yet another bus in the Toledo munipality, also in northern Antioquia.
Two soldiers from the Colombian army’s 17th Brigade were killed on Friday in a FARC minefield in the Dabieba municipality close to Antioquia’s Caribbean coast, reported national radio station RCN. An additional two soldiers were wounded in the Urrao municipality in western Antioquia on Friday as well.
Attacks on oil infrastructure in northeaster Colombia continued on Saturday, when insurgents blew up a section of the Caño Limon Coveñas oil pipeline in the Teorama municipality located in Norte de Santander Catatumbo region. According to Colombia’s state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol, the assault resulted in an oil spill near the Catatumbo river. There is a risk that the spillover could reach Venezuelan territory by Sunday. Repesentatives from the Venezuelan state-owned oil giant, PDVSA, told the Venezuelan newspaper El Tiempo that there were no reports of environmental damage, but nevertheless, the Venezuelan company maintained a state of “high alert” on Monday.
Guerrillas attacked a police station in the Riohacha munipality in the Caribbean La Guajira department, leaving one person wounded, while a soldier from the Colombian army was hurt in a FARC minefield in the northeastern Arauca department.
In February alone, there have been 51 reported FARC attacks against military personnel, police, and infrastructure projects. In that span, 25 soldiers and policemen have been killed.
The rebels and the government are currently engaged in peace talks in the Cuban capital of Havana.