Photo: Teenage Bombers in Colombia
Colombia’s National Police released videos purporting to show leftist FARC rebels using teenagers to detonate bombs.
Appearing in the pictures is a supposed 14-year-old female guerrilla loaded with explosives, half-naked, painted green and with a leg wounded in combat in the northeastern region of Catatumbo.
Also seen is a camouflaged 17-year-old boy, who according to authorities detonated explosives against army troops and was killed along with a number of soldiers.
Col. Eliecer Camacho, police commander in Norte de Santander province, told Caracol Television that these young people are trained by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for close to eight months in rural areas “where they undergo tough, almost inhuman training.”
The authorities plan to denounce this practice to humanitarian organizations.
According to figures of the Colombian government’s Humanitarian Aid for the Demobilized, between 2002 and 2011 a total of 2,962 minors belonging to illegal armed groups were demobilized.
But a police officer who spent 13 years as a prisoner of the FARC, Carlos Jose Duarte, said after being freed in April together with another nine men in uniform that he never saw children guerrillas and that the youngest combatant he encountered was 17.