Investigate bomb attacks in Southwest

News and Press Release
Originally published

(Washington, DC, February 3, 2012) – The Colombian government should ensure prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations into two bomb attacks against police stations in southwestern Colombia, which are reported to have killed at least 10 civilians and wounded more than 65, Human Rights Watch said today.

On February 1, 2012, a bomb exploded outside a police station in the city of Tumaco in Nariño department. The attack killed five civilians and wounded 41, including nine children, an official from the mayor’s office in Tumaco told Human Rights Watch. Colombia’s Minister of Defense has attributed the attack to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, allegedly carried out in alliance with the “Rastrojos,” a paramilitary successor group that also operates in the area.

On February 2, 2012, cylinder bombs exploded against a police station in the municipality of Villa Rica in Cauca department. The attack killed five civilians – including two children – and wounded 25 civilians, and was carried out in a region where the FARC have a strong presence, an official from Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office told Human Rights Watch.

“These indiscriminate attacks that kill civilians are heinous crimes whether perpetrated by the FARC or any other armed group,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Those responsible for these atrocities should be brought to justice.”

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