Nation/World


Colombia Blames Rebels After Attack On Convoy Leaves 11 Dead

SUNDAY, OCT. 5, 1997

Gunmen ambushed a convoy of cars carrying police, soldiers and prosecutors in the countryside south of the capital, killing 11 people, authorities said Saturday.

Authorities blamed Friday’s attack on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the nation’s largest leftist rebel group.

Meta province, the rural area where the assailants waited for the convoy, also harbors landownersponsored paramilitary groups and ranches owned by drug traffickers and their frontmen.

The five-car convoy was returning from an inspection of properties linked to suspected drug traffickers when gunmen detonated dynamite on the road and opened fire.

The attackers burned four of the cars, which had been coming from the town of San Carlos de Guaroa, 80 miles southeast of the capital, Bogota, police Gen. Alfredo Salgado said.

Soldiers and members of an elite police force returned fire and radioed for help. Half a dozen soldiers were among the 11 people killed, Salgado said.

Sixteen other people in the convoy suffered injuries, none of them life-threatening.

Also Friday, rebels sabotaged Colombia’s biggest oil pipeline with a dynamite charge. It was the 52nd rebel attack on the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in the northeast this year.

Pumping had already been suspended after an attack a week ago. The National Liberation Army, the nation’s second-largest guerrilla band, is believed responsible.

Guerrillas say they fight for the poor, but the military labels them bandits.


 

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