Colombian president renews anti-FARC air strikes
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the military Wednesday to resume air strikes on the leftist FARC guerrillas after they allegedly killed 10 soldiers in a "vile" attack.
"I have ordered the armed forces to lift the suspension of air strikes on FARC positions until further notice," Santos said in a televised address, surrounded by military commanders.
Officials did not immediately announce when new air strikes would begin.
Santos initially suspended the bombing campaign on March 11 for one month, then announced a one-month extension last Thursday — both welcomed as significant signs of progress in the two-year peace process aimed at ending the five-decade conflict.
The suspension partially reciprocated on the indefinite unilateral ceasefire that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had maintained since December.
But the pre-dawn attack in the remote mountains of western Colombia was one of the deadliest since the government opened peace talks with the FARC in Havana in November 2012.
A guerrilla was also killed in the fighting, and 20 soldiers wounded, three of them seriously, military officials said.
"This incident was the product of a deliberate attack by the FARC, not an accident, and that means they clearly broke the promise of a unilateral ceasefire," Santos said from the city of Cali, near the site of the attack.
The FARC have repeatedly called for a bilateral ceasefire, but the government has refused to declare one without a final peace deal.
Santos called for both sides to accelerate peace negotiations.
"Let this be clear to the FARC: I\’m not going to be pressured… by vile acts like this to make a decision on a bilateral ceasefire," he said.
SOURCE – AFP