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Troops Surround Military Chief of the FARC, Which Has Suffered Forty Casualties in Two Weeks

first_imgBy Dialogo July 28, 2009 Bogotá, July 26 (EFE).- FARC’s military chief a.k.a.“Mono Jojoy,” may be surrounded today as a result of pressure from Colombian troops, which have inflicted forty casualties on the guerilla group in the last two weeks, in bombings and engagements in areas of the Llanos Orientales, in the east central region of the country. Gen. Javier Flórez, commander of the so-called Joint Task Force Omega that is pursuing rebels in areas of the Llanos Orientales, implied as much when he gave statistics on an offensive against the guerrilla chief’s security rings. This report was followed on Sunday by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s denunciation of the alleged purchase of powerful rocket launchers by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), acquired on the international arms market. By land and by air, the Colombian troops are tightening the noose around the FARC military chief in a vast region of the southern jungle departments of El Meta, Guaviare, and Caquetá. “We’ve counted around three thousand bandits within the security rings” set up by “Mono Jojoy,” General Flórez added, speaking to Caracol Radio’s station “W.” Between Friday and Saturday, following intelligence and tracking work, twenty FARC rebels, including two chiefs of the guerrilla group’s Front 43, were killed in a bombing and subsequent engagements. On Sunday the troops pursuing the rebels found an additional of four bodies, and it is presumed that the number may rise. In one of the jungle locations bombed, on the bank of a stream called Caño Cabra, military personnel found sixty abandoned rebel packs, as well as arms, ammunition, explosives, documents, and provisions. Only one death that of a non-commissioned officer in the Army Air Corps, has been reported in the confrontations. In the operations the troops have seized more than twenty tons of provisions and around seven tons of explosives belonging to the security forces of “Mono Jojoy” or “Jorge Briceño Suárez,” whose real name is Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas. General Flórez from Task Force Omega also revealed. that so far this year, seventy-six guerrillas have been demobilized from the FARC’s so-called “Eastern Block,” belonging to Front 43, which provides for Suárez Rojas’s security. On Saturday, while visiting a camp destroyed by Air Force attacks, the commander of the Armed Forces and Acting Defense Minister, Gen. Freddy Padilla de León, called on “Mono Jojoy” to surrender together with his men. “I want to extend an invitation to ‘Mono Jojoy’ and all his men to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Colombian government’s Demobilization Plan to save their lives, and even for ‘Mono Jojoy’ to save the lives of the men whom he has engaged in these criminal activities,” Gen. Padilla de León indicated. Military operations will continue with increased intensity in this vast region between the Sierra de La Macarena and the Colombian plains and jungles, where the troops are searching for the members of the FARC’s “secretariat” (its chiefs). The guerrilla group has been engaged in armed struggle for more than forty-five years. On the other hand, in his appearance on Sunday at a reparations ceremony for the family members of almost six hundred victims of the conflict in Medellín in the northeast, President Uribe did not identify any country as providing the rockets to the guerrilla group. Uribe indicated that his administration has two options with regard to the rocket launchers in the hands of the FARC: “Either we can appease them, or we can proceed with firmness.” “If we take an attitude of appeasement, they’ll use these rocket launchers and will acquire more of them, and nobody in the international community will think twice about selling them to them. They’re not going to think about whether they should shoot them or not either. They’ll shoot them against the Colombian people,” he warned. And he indicated that “if we proceed with firmness, the international community will have to realize that instead of being lax about selling these weapons to terrorists, it has to be firm in cooperating with the Colombian democracy to defeat terrorism.”last_img

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