A number of recent attacks on public force members, burning of public buses, and reports of extortion have led police intelligence forces and members of the Technical Investigation Team of the Office of the Prosecutor (CTI) to believe that the FARC is increasing operations in the area.
Officials believe that the actions occurring are not isolated incidents, and that the FARC is in fact strengthening key fronts, through rotation of leadership, movement of guerrillas into these fronts, and increased recruitment, in accordance with a change in the Eastern Bloc’s strategy following death of “Mono Jojoy.”
Among other recent events, two young policeman from Bogota were killed in a guerrilla attack in Mesetas this past Sunday. Three days earlier, FARC guerrillas burned a bus from the Flota la Macarena company.
According to officials, “Alfonso Cano,” head of the FARC, and “Mauricio el Medico,” commander of the Eastern Bloc, have ordered FARC members to increase funds through a widespread campaign of extortion, to renew attacks against public forces, and to strengthen the key fronts.
City mayors and transportation authorities in the department have, according to El Tiempo, expressed concern over the increase in attacks. Mayor of Granada Juan Carlos Mendoza said that there is concern among residents because of pressure from illegal armed groups.
“There is an anxiety over the resurgence of certain groups, that evidently have to look for some type of funding,” said Mendoza, adding that extortive pressure from guerrillas is felt particularly in rural areas.
Jairo Ramos, regional manager of Autollanos, said in the transportation sector there is concern because “they don’t feel secure on the roadways. Any route is dangerous, and a reduction in the number of people that travel has been noted.”
In contrast to these statements, Vista Hermosa Mayor Miguel Antonio Briceño maintained that security conditions have improved by 80 percent in his municipality, calling the city much more “peaceful” than before.