Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Sunday he will send 1,200 troops to reinforce security in the northeastern Arauca department following the death of ten soldiers in an alleged FARC ambush and the recent kidnapping of the 10-year old daughter of a mayor.
Santos and his Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon traveled to the town of Tame where alleged guerrillas of the FARC carried out the deadly hit-and-run attack for an improvised security meeting with the country’s highest military officials.
The attack came less a week after the release of the daughter of the mayor of Fortul and less than a month after Pinzon told the residents of Arauca not to worry about illegal armed groups, who had been carrying out attacks against security forces and were threatening to disturb local elections coming Sunday.
Santos guaranteed that the elections in the department would not be disturbed by illegal armed groups.
“Because of the unique situation that is being experienced in Arauca … an additional battalion is ordered to arrive to this department to contribute to the security of Arauca,” said Santos, who added that the balance ‘regarding elections and security is positive.”
The remote Arauca department, which borders Venezuela, has a strong presence of rebel groups like the FARC and ELN and is considered important for the trafficking of drugs to the neighboring country.