Government developing war plan against rebels

Following a series of rebel attacks against the security forces, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera announced the government’s new strategy to combat leftist guerrillas.

Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras had already announced that the government would relaunch its security policy, following reports of soaring violence in Colombia’s largest cities, and a particularly deadly FARC attack that left fourteen policemen dead. Since then rebel groups the FARC and ELN have carried out more high-profile attacks, leaving dozens of officials dead or injured.

“We are working so that the armed forces and police can intensify their activity, so that citizens will help us by reporting more [crimes], helping the authorities, and that the international community supports us in this fight,” the minister said.

The government hopes to have a war plan ready by the end of this month to combat the increasing number of guerrilla attacks, said Rivera.

“We will have a critical analysis that allows us to formulate this new war plan … What we are doing now is a very intense and hard work of evaluating everything that has been going on in the past eight years, the capacity of our armed forces and what has happened in the fight against criminal organizations.”

The government’s new strategy will focus mainly on security in urban areas, where 70% of Colombians live and where crime has risen dramatically over the past two years, the minister explained.

On Wednesday, President Juan Manuel Santos asked Medellin residents to collaborate with the authorities to catch the people involved in the gangs that have caused a rise in homicides since 2009 and the displacement of 2,300 in the city so far this year.

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