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Urban Guerilla Warfare in Colombia

by Militante Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2002 at 4:39 AM

While the corporate media turns a blind eye to Colombia's bloody civil war and growing U.S. intervention, there has been fighting in Colombia's second-largest city after a major operation by 'security forces' whose mission was to execute Marxist rebels and supporters from a slum district.

Residents of Medellin's Comuna 13 district began emerging from their homes after two days of street battles in which at least 11 people were killed by the 'security forces.'

A four-year-old girl was among civilians injured in the military operation.

Soldiers and police are still searching houses using hooded informants to point out suspected guerrilla supporters in the district which the authorities believe is a rebel stronghold.

Ordered by President Alvaro Uribe, who pledged to crack down on the popular insurgency when he was elected earlier this year, his right wing authoritarian regime has established a spy network believed to be working with U.S. intelligence operatives.

As a tense calm returned, one resident who spoke to the corporate media present warned them that the rebels will not leave.

The BBC reported that there is fear by the military that the rebels will resume control once the overstretched security forces are redeployed.

State Terror

Correspondents say the urban guerilla warfare marks a new phase in Colombia's 38-year-old civil war which has generally been confined to the countryside.

Uribe ordered the crackdown by more than 3,000 soldiers and police as part of his ongoing policy priority to destroy the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest rebel organisation which aims to establish a socialist state.



President Uribe - who visited Medellin to assess the operation with his defence minister - said "the deaths were regrettable but unavoidable".

"This is madness. I believe this really brings home to us how Colombia needs to stop terrorism," he said.

Another reminder of the rebels' presence in the cities came when police in the capital, Bogota, seized more than 100 powerful explosive devices.

FARC support

Comuna 13 is home to about 100,000 people.

In recent years, Colombia's two main Marxist rebel groups - FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) - have been fighting right wing paramilitary special forces near the slum neighbourhoods of Medellin.

According to conservative estimates, between 300 and 400 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by paramilitaries in Medellin this year, a city of two million.



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