[QODLink]
Americas

Colombia soldiers killed fighting FARC rebels

Seven troops and unidentified number of rebels killed in Caqueta province in latest fighting amidst ongoing peace talks.
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2013 08:14

Colombia's FARC rebels have killed seven soldiers and injured five others in the worst violence against security forces since peace talks began late last year, the army said in a statement. 

An unidentified number of the rebels were also killed in the fighting in southern Caqueta province.

The violence came just hours before two captive police officers were due to be released by FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which has been holding them since last month.

The army is planning a brief ceasefire in two southwestern states to facilitate their release.

Fighting has intensified in recent weeks as FARC steps up pressure on the government while the two sides seek a negotiated end to five decades of war in talks in Cuba.

They had reported progress earlier this week on negotiating the key issue of land redistribution.

The Marxist group lifted a unilateral ceasefire on January 20 and have increased attacks on civilian and military targets, taken hostages and blown up oil and energy infrastructure in a bid to force the government to suspend hostilities.

On Tuesday, suspected FARC fighters killed a policeman and a boy and wounded 27 other people, many of them children, in a grenade and gunfire attack in the southern province of Guaviare.

Colombian president Juan Manuela Santos has said the military offensive will end only if peace is reached.

While US-backed strikes against FARC have severely weakened the rebels and limited their ability to attack the country's economic drivers, the FARC is still able to put up a fight with the military.

242

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.