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Colombia: 2 dead and 5 wounded in an attack with explosives against an Army battalion

A new attack with a motorcycle bomb against an Army battalion in the department of Meta, in central Colombia, left this Wednesday two dead -a civilian and a soldier- and five people injured with shrapnelaccording to the authorities.

The attack was perpetrated against the Battalion of Infantry N.21 Battle Pantano de Vargas, located in the municipality of Granada, detailed the Army.

The commander of the Army’s Fourth Division, General Antonio Beltrán Díaz, pinned the attack on a dissidence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) known as “Jorge Briceño” and led by “Gentil Duarte”, one of the most wanted men in the country. They intended to “enter a motorcycle with food to some of the units that are quartered.”

“The protocol acts covered by one of our soldiers, heroically, prevents this vehicle from entering the facilities,” added the officer, who lamented the death of the uniformed man.

Diego Molano, Minister of Defense, expressed himself on Twitter: “We will respond forcefully and capture those responsible. The death of a soldier hurts us.”

In the region where the attack was committed, there is a presence of criminal gangs that emerged from the demobilization of the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and dissidents of the FARC that, according to the Ombudsman’s Office, fight for territorial control of that area located in the Eastern Plains.

The governor of Meta, Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, condemned the “terrorist attack.”

“Today more than ever, security efforts must be redoubled. We do not want our department to become a theater of war again” he said in a tweet.

The Mayor’s Office of Granada decreed a curfew in the Municipality to restrict mobility until early Thursday morning.

The attacks do not let up

The Colombian authorities remain on alert after several attacks on military bases and police stations during 2022 that, according to official information, have been carried out mainly by the guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN) and the FARC dissidents.

The violence has deepened in almost all of Colombia in recent months, but the situation is particularly delicate in the departments of Cauca (southwest) and Arauca (east), and in the Catatumbo regions, which border Venezuela. Also in Bajo Cauca Antioquia (northwest) and South Pacific.

Last Sunday, the explosion of a car bomb near the police station in the Colombian town of Padilla, in Cauca, left three injured.

On January 20, another car bomb exploded in a central area of ​​Saravena, in the department of Arauca, bordering Venezuela, leaving one dead and five injured.

Without a unified command, the different dissidences of the former FARC guerrilla that did not give up or returned to arms add up about 5,000 membersaccording to the NGO Indepaz.

The ‘Gentil Duarte’ is the largest rebel branch of the ex-FARC (some 2,700 members) that operates illegally, with the financing of drug trafficking, illegal mining and extortion. This group was excluded from the peace agreement signed five years ago with the State.

With information from agencies

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