HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Colombian rebels kill 10 civilians, kidnap 170

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Leftist Colombian rebels killed 10 civilians and took 170 hostage, authorities said on Friday, in a show of force before conservative President Alvaro Uribe starts his second term next month.

In its biggest kidnapping operation in years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, moved late on Thursday against the town of Riosucio in the northern province of Choco, near Panama.

"The number of hostages is 170," Choco Gov. Julio Ibarguen told reporters. "The saddest part is that there was a massacre. There are 10 confirmed deaths, assassinated by the FARC."

A top military official said the number of hostages was less than 170. No official number was immediately available from the national government.

United Nations human rights officials branded the mass kidnapping a war crime and demanded the hostages be released.

Uribe, popular for cutting crime as part of his U.S.-backed crackdown on the rebels, was easily re-elected in May. He starts his second four-year term on August 7.

"Now that Uribe is about to start his second government, the FARC is renewing its effort at high-impact operations, to show they are very far from being defeated," said German Espejo, an analyst at the Bogota think tank Security and Democracy.

"If there are to be peace talk over the next four year, the FARC will want to enter those talks from a strong position," he said.

Uribe has entered preliminary talks with the Andean country's second biggest rebel group, known as the ELN. But the FARC has so far rejected his conditions for starting negotiations aimed at ending its four-decade-old insurrection.

Thousands are killed every year in Colombia's conflict and at least 2 million people have been forced by the violence to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

Choco, one of the most violent regions of the country, has been controlled by right-wing paramilitary militias that are scheduled to turn in their guns as part of a demobilization plan negotiated with the government. Espejo said the FARC is positioning itself to take control of the area once the paramilitaries leave.

The 17,000-strong FARC, which funds itself by exporting cocaine, says it is fighting for socialism in a country with deep divisions between rich and poor. But even mainstream leftist politicians say the group has scant popular support.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org