Truck bombs kill nine, destroy police station on first day of Colombian Christmas celebration


Solemn Colombian soldiers picked through the remains of the Inza police station Sunday morning where at least nine persons – soldiers, police and civilians – were killed, and more than 20 seriously injured from bombs launched by FARC guerrillas.

(Photo: David Hogben) Colombian soldiers sort through remains of Inza police station where bomb attack killed at least nine.

(Photo: David Hogben) Colombian soldiers sort through remains of Inza police station where bomb attack killed at least nine.

Some soldiers stood guard, weapons ready in front of a reconstructed sandbag wall while others patrolled the area. Soldiers and civilians stirred clouds of dust as they gathered pieces of furniture, shoes and clothing from the pile of rubble underneath the twisted frames of steel and concrete that stood where the police station had been.

Residents wandered about, still stunned by the results of the crude, but effective, bombs constructed from propane tanks stuffed with explosives and shrapnel which were launched from the back of a truck covered with produce that stopped in front of the station early Saturday morning. A deafening series of blasts broke the early morning calm on the day Colombians celebrate the story of the Virgin Mary and the birth of Christ. Three or four of the propane cylinder bombs were launched only a few metres away from the police station set in a lush Andean valley about 200 kilometres southeast of Cali

El Día de las Velitas, Day of the Little Candles, is  a spectacular display with millions of candles and lanterns lighting up windows, sidewalks and streets in every Colombian community. It marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Colombia, a devoutly Catholic nation.

(Photo: David Hogben) Colombian soldiers, police, civilians recuperate and reorganize after bomb attack on first day of Colombian Christmas celebrations.

(Photo: David Hogben) Colombian soldiers, police, civilians recuperate and reorganize after bomb attack on first day of Colombian Christmas celebrations.

Torrential rains extinguished many of the celebratory lights and led to cancelled processions in Colombia’s southwest, Andean region where the attack occurred, just as many opponents of the peace negotiations hope the attack will extinguish negotiations between the government and the FARC.

FARC leaders attempting to negotiate a peace accord with the Colombian government justified the attack as part of the armed conflict.

“This is an action that is part of the confrontation taking place in our country,” FARC negotiator Andres Paris, said in a statement published in El País.com.

It’s also true that the Colombian military has not relented in its attacks as it has recently been capturing and killing FARC soldiers.

FARC leaders also announced Sunday they will observe a 30-day Christmas ceasefire, beginning Dec. 15.

For more information please read:

In English, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/07/us-colombia-attack-idUSBRE9B60BA20131207

In Spanish, http://www.elpais.com.co/elpais/judicial/noticias/atentado-inza-cauca-parte-accion-armada-dicen-farc

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

One response to “Truck bombs kill nine, destroy police station on first day of Colombian Christmas celebration”

  1. colombiadiaries says :

    Thanks for your clear and concise account of this tragedy. You are very balanced in your reporting and take care to mention that loss of life is not one-sided – the government too are continuing to kill FARC guerrilleros. The FARC Christmas ceasefire is very welcome. It would be encouraging if the government did likewise. Whilst I appreciate that it is harder for the FARC to be accurate in their aim because of the crudity of their weapons, as is the case for all guerrilla armies, can killing and war ever be justified, especially the killing of civilians? This question is not just for the FARC but for armies, governments and all of us.

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