“My heart is with the families of these heroes of the fatherland who died doing their duty .. I am sure that all of you, all of Colombia, are with these families too, and we want to pay homage to them. I invite you to observe a minute of silence for their lives,” Santos said.
The president spoke from Caqueta, where he was attending a military summit over the attacks. The summit was originally scheduled to be held at Bogota‘s Casa de Nariño, but Santos decided to attend a security council in Caqueta instead.
At the meeting Santos and high ranking military officials are expected to develop a military strategy to address the FARC’s recent violent activity and increase the number of foot soldiers in the region. Security in the area was increased in anticipation of Santos’ visit.
In the next few days the Santos administration, which took office on August 7, is expected to unveil a new civilian security policy.
Authorities on Thursday raised the number of police killed in the Caqueta FARC attack to fourteen.
Initially, departmental authorities had said five policemen were killed on a Wednesday evening patrol when a roadside bomb exploded.
According to Defense Ministry data, 121 members of the Colombian armed forces died in incidents involving weapons between January 1 and August 31 of this year, a similar figure to the same period in 2009.
The Caqueta attack is the first publicized deadly attack on security forces since the inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos on August 7, and one of the deadliest in recent years.