One police officer was killed and five others wounded Friday in an attack by leftist FARC rebels as Colombia celebrated 202 years of independence from Spain.
Fighters from the 30th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, shot at police as they patrolled the highway linking Cali and the Pacific port of Buenaventura, both in the southwestern province of Valle del Cauca.
Sgt. Oscar Alfredo Celis died in the attack and five of his men were wounded, Adm. Rodolfo Amaya, commander of Colombia’s Pacific fleet, said from his headquarters in Buenaventura.
Authorities also blamed the FARC for dynamiting a bridge in the southern province of Caqueta.
“There are no dead or wounded, only material damage,” provincial government secretary Luis Eduardo Campo told El Tiempo newspaper.
The strike against the bridge will disrupt deliveries of milk and gasoline to San Vicente del Caguan, the province’s capital, authorities said.
It will take at least nine days to repair the bridge, San Vicente del Caguan Mayor Domingo Perez told RCN Radio.
In northeastern Colombia, FARC rebels burned five trucks loaded with coal on the highway linking the border city of Cucuta with the town of Ocaña.
The guerrillas forced the drivers out of the vehicles before setting the trucks ablaze.
The FARC fighters also laid mines to prevent troops from entering the area, Col. Rodolfo Ibarra, commander of the army’s 30th Brigade, told the media.
The armed forces “will continue persevering” in the task of bringing order to “difficult zones,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in an independence day address.
The FARC has battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s.