Photo: FARC Using Explosive Laden Dead Body Against Police
Four police officers were slightly wounded on Wednesday when they approached a man’s body that FARC rebels left surrounded with explosives on the outskirts of Florencia, a city in the southwestern Colombian province of Caqueta, officials said.
The officers, all members of the criminal investigations division, went to the site where the body had been dumped after receiving a tip.
The officers became suspicious when they spotted the body, which had gunshot wounds, and called for the bomb squad.
Several explosive charges that the guerrillas had hidden around the body went off as the officers were pulling out.
The explosives were apparently detonated by an electronic apparatus, Caqueta police commander Col. Carlos Alberto Vargas said from Florencia, the provincial capital.
The blast left the officers “dazed,” the colonel said.
The body, which has not been identified, was used by the rebels as a decoy, Vargas said.
Florencia is at the center of a region that has a strong presence of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas.
The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.
The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.
The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.
Alfonso Cano, the FARC’s top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.
Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.
The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.
The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.