Faced with numerous rebel attacks across Colombia, the government said Tuesday that the FARC is carrying out a country-wide offensive as part of the rebels’ “Black October” offensive.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon claims that this surge of attacks this October signifies that guerrilla groups such as the rebel group, FARC, are looking to “strengthen lies and terrorize civilians,” according to local media.
Furthermore, Pinzon asserted that the problem is growing because those behind this terrorist fear-based strategy are “[FARC members and] civilians that have been trained outside of the country.”
“Many people [also] come here, sometimes one, or two at a time, just to commit a terrorist act,” the Defense Minister informed the press.
Although there was no information provided on exactly where these civilians are coming from nor where members of the FARC are training abroad, outsourcing help from over seas is not a new strategy for the country’s largest guerrilla group. From 1998 into the early 2000’s, FARC members received training from ex-Irish Republican Army (IRA) members on terrorist activities such as how to make inexpensive bombs.
In response to the threat of more attacks, Colombia’s army has stepped up security near infrastructure around the country and has launched offenses of its own. Earlier last week, President Juan Manuel Santos mobilized 50,000 troops to combat the FARC in various regions of the country.
The government has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that would either prevent a terrorist attack or lead to an arrest.
The most recent attacks include a car bomb that injured nine, including children, damaged at least ten houses, and left a 6-foot hole in the ground in the southwest state of Cauca. They also include four attacks on a pipeline in northeastern Colombia along the Venezuelan border, and power outages in cities across the southern state of Caqueta.
Peace talks between the FARC and the government have been suspended until the end of October after no agreement was made about political participation, the second point on the 5-point agenda. On November 19 the talks will have been running for a year.