Colombian rebels kill five troops, three civilians
04/27/2012 18:56 GMT
BOGOTA, April 27, 2012 (AFP) - Colombia's leftist FARC rebels killed five government troops in a battle Friday and a separate attack on a police station left three civilians, including a baby, dead, the army said.
The fighting took place in the southwest on the border of Cauca and Valle del Cauca departments and killed a sergeant and four soldiers, the commander of Task Force Apollo, Jorge Humberton Jerez, told the Caracol radio station.
"There are five heroes who have died in Colombia: four soldiers and a non-commissioned officer," Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.
He said the attacks had "no explanation" and that the FARC guerrillas were "violating human rights, all principles of international justice."
At the police station in the town of Puerto Rico, in Caqueta, the rebels failed to kill any officers when they fired explosives into the building but the blast killed a baby, its mother and father nearby, an official said.
"Five cylinders loaded with explosives were fired and one of them fell into a nearby house. A woman and a baby less than one year old were killed on the spot. It was learned that the father, who was seriously injured, has just died," Caqueta police chief Carlos Vargas told reporters.
The FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Latin America's largest remaining guerrilla group, is believed to have about 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas of the country, according to government estimates.
Their deadliest attack this year was committed last month when the rebels killed 11 soldiers in the town of Arauquita, near the border with Venezuela.
FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez earlier this month denied that proposed negotiations with the government imply the guerrillas intend to surrender any time soon.
The FARC leader said the rich-poor divide in Colombia needed to be one of the issues on the table for future talks.
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