Colom­bia re­sumes air raids af­ter FARC kill 11 troops


Colom­bia’s pres­i­dent on Wed­nes­day or­dered the re­sump­tion of air raids on rebel camps af­ter an attack by left­ist guer­ril­las killed 11 sol­diers and wounded 19, jeop­ar­diz­ing progress in two-year-old peace talks.

Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos, how­ever, gave no in­di­ca­tion the gov­ern­ment was think­ing of pulling out of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, say­ing the blood­shed un­der­lined the need to end Colom­bia’s half cen­tury con­flict.

The attack oc­curred around mid­night Tues­day in the volatile south­west depart­ment of Cauca when an army pla­toon sleep­ing in a cov­ered sports pav­il­ion was sur­prised by guer­ril­las fir­ing home­made ex­plo­sives and grenades. A cor­po­ral and 10 other sol­diers died dur­ing the attack by a unit of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia, or FARC, the army’s 3rd Di­vi­sion said.

San­tos con­demned the attack, which he said was pre­med­i­tated and not the re­sult of any army in­cur­sion. He said he had lifted a month-old sus­pen­sion on aerial bomb­ings of FARC camps that had been trum­peted as a ma­jor mile­post in the ef­fort to end a half cen­tury of fight­ing.

“Let it be very clear to the FARC: I’m not go­ing let my­self be pres­sured by vile acts like this,” San­tos said, flanked by his top mil­i­tary com­man­ders as he read from a pre­pared state­ment in Cali, where he trav­eled to over­see op­er­a­tions in the com­bat zone to ap­pre­hend the at­tack­ers.

Colom­bians took to so­cial me­dia to de­nounce the attack and urge San­tos to aban­don the peace talks be­ing held in Ha­vana.

“San­tos, don’t be­tray us any­more,” for­mer Pres­i­dent Al­varo Uribe, a fierce critic of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, said on Twit­ter. “Don’t jus­tify the mur­der of our sol­diers with this talk of war you want to end.”

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