Colombia’s military on Sunday reported the arrest of eight alleged FARC guerrillas in a second wave of arrests in the southwest of the country where the FARC has intensely been attacking infrastructure.
According to French news agency AFP, military sources said that six of the suspected rebels were arrested in the border town of Ipiales and two men were arrested in the rural Roberto Payan municipality.
Both municipalities are located in the southwestern Nariño department where the FARC has carried out numerous attacks on oil and electricity infrastructure since lifting the group’s unilateral ceasefire on May 22.
In the Ipiales raid, soldiers and prosecution officials found 12 cell phones, explosives, 17 rifle cartridges, documents and cash.
In the operation carried out in Roberto Payan, two alleged members of the logistical support network of the Daniel Aldana column were arrested and two firearms were seized.
The Daniel Aldana column is a fighters unit that operates in Colombia’s most southwestern municipality. Armed guerrilla units are commonly supported by unarmed support networks that, for example, carry out logistical operations or warn guerrilla fighters of army movements in the area.
The operation that sought the curbing of the FARC’s control in the Nariño state is the second in two weeks.
On June 19, authorities carried out more than 30 raids in the Tumaco municipality and arrested 20 alleged members of the Daniel Aldana column, a guerrilla unit accused of having out a series of attacks in the past month.
Tumaco has become one of the epicenters of the FARC’s guerrilla offensive against the state they resumed after the suspension of a five-month ceasefire that was called in December, but lifted after a military air strike killed 27 guerrillas, including a formal member of the guerrillas’ peace negotiation team.
The FARC has been engaged in peace talks with the government since November 2012, but the parties have failed to come to agreement on a truce for the duration of the talks.
Particularly port towns like Tumaco and the more northern port city Buenaventura have since been the frequent target of FARC attacks that have caused both towns to be without energy for days.
A recent FARC attack on an oil pipeline connecting inland oilfields to Tumaco’s port caused one of the worst environmental disasters in recent history when an explosive devise ruptured the pipeline and caused the spilling of 400,000 gallons of crude oil into Tumaco’s creeks, rivers and mangroves.
Guerrilla attacks mainly carried out in the south and southwest of the country left more than a million people without electricity for days, while more than a thousand were displaced within weeks after the FARC lifting their ceasefire due to combat between the army and the FARC, mainly in the west of the country.
Despite the recent uptick in violence, negotiations between the government and the FARC continue in Havana.
The rebels and the government have since the beginning of the talks in November 2012 signed partial agreements on political participation, rural reform and the FARC’s abandoning of drug trafficking.
Before an eventual deal to end more than 50 years of conflict is signed, the negotiating teams in Havana, Cuba will have to agree on two more agenda points: Victims and End of Conflict.
These negotiations have been slow as neither party seems to know how to adequately punish war crimes committed by both parties in the past five decades and how to compensate the more than 7 million victims of the violence.