Fighting in Colombia Leaves 50 Dead

Fighting in Colombia Leaves 50 Dead
Posted by FoM on January 15, 2000 at 21:40:43 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: New York Times
In some of the worst fighting in months, clashes between leftist rebels and security forces near Bogota killed 50 people Saturday, the same day Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited northern Colombia. Rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, staged an early morning attack on Guayabetal, 30 miles southeast of Bogota, Colombia's capital. 
Fighting in the region continued throughout the day, and was still going on Saturday night. The Colombian government and FARC also held peace talks Saturday in a southern jungle. It was not clear if the rebel attack was meant as a show of force to coincide with the peace talks or Albright's visit. The fighting was hundreds of miles away from Cartagena, where Albright was on a one-day visit to discuss increasing cooperation between Colombia and the United States in the drug war. A statement from the Colombian army said 44 rebels, five soldiers and a police officers were killed in the fighting. It was the worst fighting in Colombia in six months. Also Saturday, four small bombs exploded at police posts in southern Bogota, causing damage but no casualties. No one claimed responsibility for the explosives, but suspicion immediately fell on the rebels. Colombia's civil war has been going on for nearly four decades and has killed an estimated 30,000 people. On her visit, Albright promoted a proposed aid package to Colombia worth $1.6 billion. The United States insists the aid, if approved by the U.S. Congress, would go to fighting drug trafficking. But some Colombians point out that FARC earns much of its money from taxing drug crops -- and that the proposed aid would almost certainly be used in the counterinsurgency fight under the guise of fighting drugs. BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) Published: January 15, 2000Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company Related Articles:Cooperation Training Boosts Colombia's War on Drug-12/31/99 Statement on U.S. Support for Colombia - 10/15/99 Colombian Drug Smugglers Hold Tech Advantage - 11/14/99
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