FARC deny targeting civilians

Colombia’s largest guerrilla group the FARC said Tuesday they do not target civilians, in a message on their website.

The statement follows last week’s series of high-profile bombings that left 19 dead and 76 wounded. Authorities alleged the FARC were responsible.

The message said, “Nothing is further from our convictions than indiscriminate actions against civilian populations. Our only military objectives are the armed forces of the state and the criminal groups who serve them.”

It went on to accuse the Colombian police and army of purposefully surrounding themselves with “civilian populations which they use as a shield.”

The statement didn’t specifically mention peace talks but said the war could be ended with “mediated solutions […] that address the origins of this conflict.”

The FARC has been in conflict with the Colombian state in 1964. Supported by U.S. military aid and illegally by right-wing paramilitary groups, the Colombian state forces were able to force the guerrillas away from Colombian cities and economic hubs. However, since 2008, the rebels have increased their number of hit-and-run attacks on towns and state forces.

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