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Cablegate: Farc: Bad Day in Colombia As Three Attacks Target

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7062 2152007
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 032007Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7604
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 8024
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG LIMA 4094
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9394
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4748
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS BOGOTA 007062

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER
SUBJECT: FARC: BAD DAY IN COLOMBIA AS THREE ATTACKS TARGET
COLAR

REF: BOGOTA 7002

-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) Three explosives attacks on July 31 in Bogota and
other regions of Colombia appear to be FARC actions intended
to display its strength in the lead-up to President Uribe's
August 7 inauguration. Targets in all three cases were
members of the COLAR, of whom 17 were killed and 30 wounded.
Security forces will be heavily deployed in Bogota for the
inaugural events. BOGOTA 7002 contains additional detail.
End Summary.

----------------------------------
Three Attacks, 47 COLAR Casualties
----------------------------------

2. (U) 17 army soldiers and a civilian were killed and 30
soldiers were wounded on July 31 in three apparently
coordinated attacks carried out by the FARC. The three
attacks were:

- in Bogota, a car bomb was remotely detonated to coincide
with the passing of two COLAR trucks transporting soldiers,
killing a civilian bystander and wounding 21 soldiers
(reftel). The incident occurred in the northwest of the
city, a few blocks from the Jose Maria Cordoba Military
Academy.

- near the town of Tibu in the Catatumbo region of Norte de
Santander department, the COLAR received a tip-off on a
supposed car bomb; the squad that went to defuse the bomb was
then hit by explosive charges on the road and by gunfire from
adjacent hills. 15 COLAR officers and soldiers were killed
and three wounded. When others in the unit returned fire,
the assailants fled towards the nearby Venezuelan border.

- in Guayacanas, Narino department, soldiers were similarly
drawn into a trap, investigating a house where explosives
were then detonated killing two soldiers and wounding six.

3. (U) These attacks fit the FARC's pattern of conducting
terrorist attacks in the lead-up to elections and
inaugurations. We expect the FARC to attempt additional
attacks through August 7. Four years ago the FARC fired
mortars at the Congressional National Palace in an effort to
disrupt Uribe's first inauguration.

------------
GOC Response
------------

4. (U) In response to the attacks, President Uribe made
reference to recent FARC overtures to the European Union, in
which the FARC appealed to be removed from the EU's list of
terrorist groups. Uribe said, "The world must not be fooled
by these terrorists. They talk of peace, they are seeking to
fool the EU... and (yet) they carry out these acts in
Colombia."

5. (U) The GOC is meanwhile beefing up security in the
capital in advance of Uribe's August 7 inauguration. Already
about 23,000 police and 6,000 soldiers are deployed, most
heavily in the central areas, where roads will be closed from
August 4.
WOOD

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