Colombian authorities say ex-FARC behind latest Duque assault


Colombia has arrested 10 folks accused of involvement in assaults on a helicopter carrying President Ivan Duque and a army base final month that officers mentioned on Thursday have been deliberate by former FARC insurgent leaders primarily based in Venezuela.

The automotive bombing on the base within the northeastern metropolis of Cucuta, dwelling to the military’s thirtieth Brigade, wounded 44 folks, together with two US army advisers. Later in June, a helicopter approaching the town with Duque and different officers on board was strafed by bullets.

Orders to hold out the assaults got here from former FARC leaders who’re working from Venezuela, Defence Minister Diego Molano mentioned in the course of the information convention.

The mark of a projectile impression on a helicopter that Colombian President Ivan Duque was travelling in, after it suffered an assault throughout an overflight, in response to authorities, in Cucuta, Colombia [File: Colombia Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

“It’s clear that this assault towards the president, towards the thirtieth Brigade, was deliberate from Venezuela,” Molano mentioned.

Molano mentioned the assaults demonstrated that the federal government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sheltered FARC dissidents, referring to them as “terrorists.”

“I wish to present that it’s clear that this try towards the president and the thirty third brigade was deliberate from Venezuela and it’s, due to this fact, mandatory for the worldwide group to mirror on how the Maduro regime continues to guard terrorists that proceed to assault Colombian establishments,” he mentioned.

The ten folks captured in Norte de Santander province are former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels who reject a 2016 peace deal, Legal professional Basic Francisco Barbosa mentioned in a information convention broadcast through social media.

Three of them took half within the planning and execution of each assaults and have been detained and charged, whereas one other is a retired military captain, Barbosa mentioned.

Colombia’s authorities has lengthy accused Maduro of turning a blind eye to the presence of Colombian rebels on his nation’s territory. Maduro, in flip, has mentioned Venezuela is a sufferer of criminals from Colombia.

Venezuelan Overseas Minister Jorge Arreaza responded on Twitter, accusing Molano of pointing at Venezuela to distract from Colombia’s inside issues.

“As soon as once more they use Venezuela to attempt to cover the tragedy of their nation,” he mentioned, including that Colombia was riddled with violence and armed teams, with an economic system reliant on drug trafficking.

The newest improvement comes in the midst of one other political disaster engulfing the nation.

Protests throughout Colombia began on April 28 towards proposed tax will increase on public companies, gas, wages and pensions, nevertheless it has morphed right into a common demand for the federal government to pay longstanding money owed to probably the most weak in society, comparable to Indigenous and Afro Latino folks. Though the administration of Duque withdrew the tax measure, protests continued and grew as reviews emerged of police violence, arrests, deaths and disappearances.

Demonstrators strolling subsequent to riot police throughout anti-government protests in Bogota, Colombia [Santiago Mesa/Reuters]

On Tuesday the federal government formally introduced a $3.95bn tax reform invoice to Congress, as unions and pupil teams sought to revive the road protests.

The finance ministry emphasised the invoice is not going to have an effect on most taxpayers, after a proposed improve in gross sales tax within the April model drew particular ire.

However protesters have voiced scepticism about authorities guarantees to reform key calls for comparable to police reform and bettering alternatives for younger folks, together with a 25 % minimal wage subsidy for firms that rent 18- to 28-year-olds.

Earlier in July, the UN particular envoy for Colombia known as on Colombian society to make use of the 2016 peace settlement between the federal government and the nation’s largest insurgent group as a chance to deal with many longstanding points that provoked the protests and unrest.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu informed the UN Safety Council that it’s pressing that these points be resolved, saying “daring steps” are wanted to speed up the implementation of the peace deal within the coming months.

Earlier than the peace deal was signed with the FARC, greater than 50 years of warfare in Colombia brought about greater than 220,000 deaths and displaced almost six million folks. An amnesty regulation was adopted overlaying most offences dedicated by FARC fighters.

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