The United States Thursday praised Colombia’s “vigorous” measures to fight domestic terrorism and its increase in international counterterrorism cooperation and training efforts.
In its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department said “the Colombian government continued its vigorous military, law enforcement, intelligence, and economic measures against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and remaining elements of the demobilized United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Colombia continued to increase its international counterterrorism cooperation and training efforts.”
Washington called Bogota‘s extradition of Colombian drug trafficking suspects “an important tool for bringing drug traffickers and terrorists to justice,” saying that 148 Colombians were extradited to the U.S. in 2010.
According to the U.S., Colombi is home to two terrorist organizations; the leftist guerrilla groups FARC and ELN.
Despite government efforts to fight leftist rebel groups and “despite its weakened state, the FARC still numbered approximately 8,000 members, and continued terrorist attacks, extortion, and kidnapping. The group increased its use of land mines, ambushes, snipers, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The FARC also used non-uniformed militia members to carry out terrorist attacks, especially in more populated areas. The FARC continued narcotics trafficking activities, bombed military and civilian targets in urban areas, and targeted rural outposts, police stations, infrastructure, and local political leaders.” said the report.
The ELN, Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, “continued to inflict numerous casualties on the Colombian military through use of land mines and ambushes,” according to the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
“Some” former members of the demobilized paramilitary organization AUC “continued to engage in criminal activities after demobilization, mostly in drug trafficking. The Colombian government refers to these criminal groups as criminal bands, and estimated their membership at more than 3,500, while non-governmental organizations estimate membership at 6,000 or more,” the report said.