Colombia’s Armed Forces launch air assault against dissident FARC groups

Colombia’s Armed Forces dealt a decisive blow Tuesday against camps in the Guaviare department controlled by FARC dissidents. In a joint operation between troops of the Omega Task Force, Navy, Air Force, and support from the intelligence unit of the National Police, nine members of the Residual Armed Group of FARC were killed in combat, confirmed Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas.

The former FARC guerrillas, eight men and one woman, belonging to the first and seventh front, were killed during a bombardment by the Air Combat Command No. 2 (Cacom 2) near the municipality of Calamar in the eastern region of Guaviare. “The precision of the aerial bombing and combat operations along the Itilla river confiscated weapons of war, including rifles, pistols, radio grenade launchers, 10 improvised explosive devices, and 100-pound cylinder heads,” confirmed Villegas.

Among those killed is Camilo López, alias “Gabriel”, head of finances of the dissent organization led by alias “Iván Mordisco”. Front commander “Gabriel” was responsible for handling explosives in several attacks against military garrisons in Meta and Guaviare. An arrest warrant by the Attorney General’s Office against Gabriel includes selective homicide, kidnapping, recruitment of minors, forced displacement and drug trafficking. Colombia’s National Police and other intelligence agencies are currently patrolling the region to guarantee security to civilians. Tuesday’s attack was the first joint military operation in former FARC strongholds to attack dissent groups.

An investigation by the Colombian Armed Forces claims these fronts of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla now belong to the Bloque Oriental and count with 1,000 to 1,500 combatants. The Bloque Oriental controls the coca harvest in six of Colombia’s eastern departments as well as, lucrative trafficking routes to Brazil and Venezuela.

President Juan Manuel Santos on his twitter account congratulated the Armed Forces and National Police for a “great attack in which nine members of Residual FARC were neutralized.”