FARC attack in Cauca Valley leave 11 Colombian soldiers dead

The attack from FARC against the Colombian government marks the end of the ceasefire ratified the last December by both parts and the killing of 11 servicemen in Cauca.

Eleven Colombian soldiers died and twenty were left wounded the night of the 14th and the morning of the 15th this past April, in a combat that lasted for approximately six hours. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC for its acronym in Spanish, attacked the Colombian army in the zone of the Cauca Valley in the rural zone of Buenos Aires, Colombia.

Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos classified this event as a violation of the ceasefire agreement declared this past December by FARC. Santos claims that the strikes were not launched for acts of self-defense, but were deliberately fired. “I regret the deaths of the soldier in Cauca. This is precisely the war that we have to end”, said the president on his twitter account @JuanManSantos

AFP, Agence France Presse

According to Pastor Alape, one of FARC’s leaders, the act of FARC was a defensive response to the government “incoherently” sending troops against their forces. Colombian army has preformed operations in this rural area as of two years ago from this past December, mandated by the government, known as the “Tarea Apolo”.

This past incident has put a hold on the most recent set of peace talks, which began in November 2012, between government officials and FARC leaders in Havana, Cuba. The negotiations anticipated ending the longest ongoing conflict in Colombia against the most influential rebel group dating back to its creation in 1964. Government ordered a continuation of the military operations in the area and legitimized use of fire if necessary. There is still confusion as to what really occurred in the Cauca Valley.

Experts working in the area disagree on who started firing the first attacks. The Conflict Analysis Center, CERAC says that soldiers entered the Naya river canyon to set up a control point but did not attack the rebels. On the other hand, Peace and Reconciliation Foundation stated that military entered a camp that was surrounded by mines and began shooting. FARC members grabbed their own weapons in defense.

“The deaths today represent a sad step backward for the reduction of suffering and for [building] confidence in the peace process,” said Fabrizio Hochschild, the UN representative for Colombia.

The guardian

The reappearance of government and FARC tension has had noted repercussions on President Santos and Colombian civilians. This resulted in a 29% (data from TeleSur) acceptance rate drop of Santos administration, due to the social unrest, concerning the government’s capacity to manage a historical issue that has affected the country for decades.


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