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Recent Combat Reports from the Colombia War

by LiamCraig-Best Wednesday, May. 23, 2001 at 12:44 AM

In Colombia the Communist guerillas the FARC and ELN are fighting to the teeth against the silent U.S. counterinsurgency that doesn't want another Vietnam, critics say it is very likely.

Liam Craig-Best is a freelance journalist specialising in human rights issues in Colombia. To get on his mailing list email him.

There is combat everyday in Colombia and it can occur just about anywhere in the country outside of the largest cities. It goes largely unreported even in Colombia itself although to give an idea below are some of the most recent events. The fighting is usually between the FARC and/or ELN guerrilla movements on the one side and the Colombian military and/or paramilitary death squads on the other.

May 13th FARC and army in heavy combat in the departments of Cesar, Quindio, Putumayo, Antioquia, and Boyaca. Accurate casualty figures not yet known.

May 13th ELN and EPL guerrillas in heavy combat with the army and police in Norte de Santander department. Accurate casualty figures not yet known although it is believed that at least two EPL guerrillas and two police officers were killed.

May 13th ELN and army in combat in Casanare department resulting in one guerrilla dead. No civilians killed.

May 12th FARC and army in heavy combat outside the town of Sucre in Santander department resulting in three guerrillas and one soldier being killed. The FARC front was pursuing a paramilitary death squad in the region when the army attacked. No civilians killed.

May 12th ELN and army in heavy combat outside the town of Falan in Tolima department resulting in four guerrillas and one soldier being killed. No civilians killed.

May 11th ELN ambushed a police patrol in Sandona killing three police officers and kidnapping two others. No civilians killed.

May 10th FARC attacked police station in the town of Canas Gordas, Antioquia department, killing three police officers and kidnapping one other. Three FARC guerrillas also killed. No civilians killed.

May 9th ELN and army in heavy combat in Arauca department resulting in the death of a soldier. No civilians killed.

May 9th FARC and army in heavy combat in Caqueta, Cauca and Putumayo departments. One soldier and six guerrillas killed in Caqueta. According to the FARC four of the dead guerrillas were actually local peasant farmers whom the army murdered and then claimed were guerrillas. This claim is given added credence by the fact that the troops involved were from the Colombian Army's 24th Brigade - a unit that has a long history of being involved in serious human rights violations.

May 7th FARC attacked the police station and prison in the town of Caloto, Cauca department. Although there were no casualties the guerrillas used dynamite to blow open the front gates of the town jail and free 68 prisoners. It is now known how many of the escapees were FARC rebels and how many were common criminals. Nobody was killed during the attacks in the town. The FARC regularly attack jails to try and free their imprisoned comrades. In February a mountain prison was attacked and 19 rebels freed and in April another 35 were liberated when the FARC blew up a jail wall in the city of Florencia in southern Colombia.

May 7th FARC and army in heavy combat near the town of Potosi, Narino department. Two soldiers and three guerrillas killed. No civilians killed.

May 7th ELN kill two soldiers and one civilian in a bomb attack on an army patrol in the town of San Calixto, Norte de Santander department.

May 6th FARC and army in combat for more than three hours in the Apia municipality of Risaralda department. No casualty figures.

May 6th FARC and army in heavy combat in the Potosi municipality of Narino department. One soldier and three guerrillas killed. No civilians killed.

May 5th FARC attacked the police station in the town of Fuente de Oro, Meta department. One policeman and one guerrilla killed. No civilians killed.

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