“Our decision today is to reinforce our anti-terrorist policies,” Uribe said during a visit to Brazil.
“They want to win prestige with some releases, and at the same time
they cynically bloody the streets of several Colombian cities with car
bombs and cynically assassinate Indians,” Uribe said during a joint
news conference with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da
Car bombs went off in the city of Neiva in January and
in Cali at the start of February, killing two people and wounding 39.
The government blamed the FARC, which stands for the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia.
On Tuesday, the FARC took responsibility for the death of eight Awa indigenous people near the border with Ecuador.
“All eight men admitted they had been working with the army for two
years in this,” the FARC said in a statement posted on a website
regularly used by the rebels, anncol.eu/.
“As a result of the military operations, their responsibility in the
deaths of numerous guerrillas and their undeniable active involvement
in the conflict, they were executed,” the statement said.
Colombian army, which has been pummeling the guerrillas in the past few
years, denied the villagers were spying on the FARC and condemned the
group for murders it said would further erode its credibility.
Army chief Gen. Freddy Padilla denied the army had been paying Awa informants.
Dozens of Awa villagers fled their homes following reports that as many
as 27 people were killed this month by the leftist rebels, who are
fighting a four-decade-old insurgency against the state.
Officials have only found one body in the remote southwestern region where the killings took place.
The United Nations refugee agency says the 21,000-person Awa community
— one of many Indian tribes caught up in conflict — suffer persistent
human rights abuses as a result of fighting between criminal gangs and
guerrillas for cocaine-producing land.
Uribe has taken an
increasingly hard line against the FARC, despite the Marxist guerrilla
group’s release two weeks ago of three hostages, a move that raised
hopes it could free more. (Reuters)