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One dead and 20 injured left car bomb on the border between Colombia and Venezuela

One dead and 20 injured left car bomb on the border between Colombia and Venezuela

One dead and 20 injured left car bomb on the border between Colombia and Venezuela

A car bomb attack left one dead and twenty wounded in front of a complex of official and human rights headquarters in Saravena, a municipality Colombian bordering with Venezuela where the army recently deployed troops, authorities said Thursday.

The attack took place before midnight on Wednesday and was carried out by guerrillas who had withdrawn from the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), according to a statement from the military command.

The vehicle exploded in front of official buildings and a human rights headquarters, where a meeting of social leaders had been held earlier.

The blast killed one security guard and injured 20 others, said Defense Minister Diego Molano, who headed a security council in the border region.

As a result of the attack, the authorities imposed a night curfew in most of the department of Arauca, including the capital of the same name and the municipalities of Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita.

This “terrorist act was planned and financed from Venezuela” by FARC dissidents, Molano said in a statement to the media.

The attack also caused damage to a hundred commercial premises, homes and official headquarters. “The explosives used for this terrorist action were transferred to Colombia from Venezuela,” the official insisted.

– bloodthirsty dispute –

President Iván Duque rejected “the miserable attack.” “Our public force will continue to strengthen territorial control in the area to corner these armed groups,” the president wrote on Twitter.

Among the facilities damaged are those of two media outlets, Trochando sin Fronteras and Sarare Estéreo. “The journalists reported damage to antennas and equipment,” said the Foundation for Press Freedom in a message on social networks.

The border area with Venezuela is one of the biggest focuses of the violence that followed the 2016 peace pact in Colombia.

The dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last active guerrilla, have been fighting a blood and fire dispute for a year over the income derived from drug trafficking, according to the government.

Minister Molano announced millionaire rewards for the heads of both organizations on the border, including aliases Antonio Medina, Arturo and Ferley, heads of the dissidents and accused of the most recent attack with explosives.

– Threats of death –

Without diplomatic relations, the governments of Colombia and Venezuela frequently throw darts at each other over the violence in the bordering territory.

Duque blames the “dictatorship” of Nicolás Maduro who, according to him, protects the armed groups in his territory, while Caracas denies the allegations.

Although the bulk of the FARC rebels demobilized in 2017, dissidence groups remained active without a unified command, disputing territorial control with organizations such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last active guerrilla group in Colombia.

The person in charge of human rights in Saravena, José Luis Lazo, denounced that a dissident rebel leader had given the order to attack human rights activists in the department of Arauca.

Alias ​​Antonio Medina, of the so-called Front 28, through a WhatsApp audio, ordered “the murder of community leaders, human rights defenders and people from community transportation and public service companies,” the official said in an interview with W Radio.

However, he did not specify the motivations of the guerrillas.

At the beginning of the year, the two groups clashed in various municipalities of Arauca. Nearly 30 people were killed and hundreds were displaced fleeing the clashes, according to official figures.

Since then the government has deployed some 1,300 soldiers to join the more than 5,600 troops already operating in the area.

The ELN has about 2,500 members and the FARC dissidents add up to about 5,200 combatants, according to the independent think tank Indepaz.

Armed groups are fighting for control of drug trafficking, according to the government of Colombia, the largest producer of the white powder.

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