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Fourteen police killed in suspected FARC mine blast

Fourteen police officers died when their vehicle was destroyed by a mine in southern Caqueta department, police said Thursday. Officials attribute the blast to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose main stronghold is in Caqueta.

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AFP - Fourteen police officers were killed when their patrol vehicle was blown up by a rebel mine on a road in southern Caqueta department, local police said Thursday.

"At first we got reports of five police killed in a mine field, but only when we managed to get there Thursday, due to the precautions you must take in the area, could we confirm that 14 were killed" in the bombing late Wednesday, a police spokesman said.

Early reports after the blast said five police officers had been killed in their patrol vehicle by a mine blast attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's oldest and strongest rebel group whose main stronghold is in Caqueta.

Police said they took very long in reaching the bombing site because they had to negotiate several mine fields laid by the guerrillas. They said the vehicle was completely destroyed by the blast.

The bombing near Maguare village was the first major FARC attack on law enforcement since President Juan Manuel Santos took office on August 7. He has vowed to continue a crackdown on the rebel group lauched eight years ago by his predecessor Alvaro Uribe.

Three soldiers were killed and seven were wounded Thursday in two battles with FARC guerrillas in Norte de Santander and Narino departments, on the borders with Venezuela and Ecuador respectively.

And on July 31, FARC rebels killed five police officers and one soldier when they were inspecting boats docked on a river at Solita, also in Caqueta department.

 

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