Rebel group FARC announced on Wednesday that they are investigating whether guerrillas are responsible for the recent killing of two policemen in the southwest of the country and the kidnapping of five oil workers in central Colombia.
The two police officers, who had been abducted several days earlier, were found dead in the Tumaco municipality, authorities said Tuesday. Both victims displayed signs that they had been executed.
Several public officials were quick to implicate the FARC in the killings which have received widespread condemnation.
On Wednesday, five oil workers were kidnapped in the central Colombian state of Meta. The contractors, in the employ of the Sercapetrol oil company, were traveling in a vehicle through the area when they were taken, according to Santa Fe Radio. They have however since been released.
Initial reports did mention that the FARC’s 1st, 53rd and 17th fronts operate in the region, but did not accuse the rebel group of any involvement.
Peace talks under pressure
Theses recent developments have raised tensions between the government and the FARC as the peace talks in Havana, Cuba, enter the 22nd round, focusing on the issue of illicit drugs.
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the presidential candidate for the Democratic Center party of former President Alvaro Uribe went so far as to ask Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to suspend peace talks with rebel group FARC in light of the recent murder of two policemen.
Internal rebel investigation
FARC negotiator Rodrigo Granada confirmed that the delegation is doing an internal investigation to understand what happened in both Tumaco and Meta, reported El Pais.
Granada stated that the delegation would not be able to confirm what had happened until “we have done our investigation.”
The ministry of defense accused the Daniel Aldana column of the FARC for the murder of the two policemen in Tumaco, whilst the army blamed the 27th front of the rebel organisation for the abduction of the 5 oil workers in Meta.
Granada continued, “tomorrow (Thursday) we hope to be able to make a statement, and if it’s the case, we will assume our responsibility, of that there can be no doubt.”
However, in the rebels’ Thursday morning press conference, negotiation leader “Ivan Marquez” failed to follow up on the promise.
The current negotiations represent the fourth historic attempt at peace talks between the government and the FARC. The dialogues to seek a negotiated end to the 50-year old conflict began in November, 2012.