Bogotá, Sep 2 (EFE) .- The ambush this Friday in which seven police officers were killed in southwestern Colombia is the most serious attack committed in the country since the arrival to the Presidency of Gustavo Petro, who did not hesitate to consider it as a sabotage to his proposal for “total peace”.
The attack was carried out with explosives in the village of Corozal against a police unit that was traveling in a truck after a day of work in the village of San Luis, in the rural area of Palermo, in the department of Huila.
The Government initially reported eight deaths, but later the Police specified in a statement that there were seven, including three assistants aged 18, 19 and 20 who had only been in the institution for three months.
The victims were the mayors Wilson Cuéllar Losada and Luis Alberto Sabi Gutiérrez; patrolmen Duberney Carreño Rodríguez and Jhon Fredy Bautista, and auxiliaries Santiago Gómez Endes, Arles Mauricio Pascuas and Cristian Ricardo Cubillos.
So far, those responsible for the attack are unknown, although in the department of Huila, which was harshly beaten for decades by the former FARC guerrilla, there are dissidents from that group who did not accept or renounce the peace agreement signed in November 2016.
SABOTAGE OF PEACE
Petro, who assumed the Presidency 25 days ago with the promise of achieving “total peace” in the country, where in addition to the FARC dissidents, other groups persist, such as the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and numerous criminal gangs dedicated mainly to drug trafficking, illegal mining and extortion, immediately condemned the ambush.
“I strongly reject the attack with explosives that killed 8 policemen in San Luis, Huila. Solidarity with their families,” the president initially said on his Twitter account.
The president went further and pointed out: “These facts express a clear sabotage of total peace.”
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“Total peace goes against collusion and silence in the face of criminality. This act of terror is a sabotage of the purposes of overcoming this violence that serves the interests of a few, who live and have lived from war”, For their part, the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace stated in a joint statement.
Up to now, this ambitious initiative had not been resisted by the illegal armed groups, which in various ways expressed their intention to seek an agreement with the government, either through a peace negotiation in cases such as that of the ELN -a political guerrilla-, or a submission to justice for those involved in common crimes, such as those of drug gangs or dissidents.
In the case of the ELN, the contacts advanced last month in Cuba where the negotiators of that guerrilla and the Government agreed to resume the peace talks interrupted in 2018.
In the weeks prior to Petro’s inauguration, which took place on August 7, the Clan del Golfo, the country’s largest criminal gang, unleashed a wave of attacks against policemen, through the so-called “pistol plan”, in retaliation for the extradition to the United States last May of its leader, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel”.
That offensive, which cost the lives of 36 policemen, was interpreted by analysts as a show of force by the Clan del Golfo, also called the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), in order to reach an eventual negotiation with the Government of Petro who was announced on the same day of his inauguration “a unilateral cessation of offensive hostilities” to seek “paths of peace.”
That is why today’s bloody attack, which for now has not been attributed by any group, was rejected by different authorities and international organizations since it represents a serious blow to the hope of peace that was opened in the first weeks of the Petro government, the first left-wing president of the country.
“These types of actions do not contribute to the desire for peace that Colombians have,” said the Ombudsman’s Office in a message on social networks.
The special representative of the UN Secretary General in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, who is very active in peace initiatives, also condemned the attack on the police patrol in Huila.
“I trust that the competent authorities will quickly investigate this fact. We must continue to insist on efforts around peace,” said the diplomat.
For his part, former President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) said that “terrorists make fun of the generosity” of the government with attacks like today’s and “are disdainful of social offers,” for which he stated that “terrorism only the authority terrifies him”.
PRINCIPLE OF AUTHORITY
The attack also occurred at a time of changes in the line of command and doctrine of the Police, which has been criticized by the opposition to the new Government, which they accuse of wanting to weaken that institution, for which the president’s reaction was significant. of the Senate, Roy Barreras, a member of the Historical Pact, the leftist coalition of which Petro is also a part.
“There is no respectable rule of law if the ENTIRE LEGITIMATE FORCE OF THE STATE is not exercised against these murderers,” Barreras said on his Twitter account.
The senator also asked the Ministry of Defense “to deploy the strongest police and military reaction to capture and punish them” and ruled: “Their impunity would be a humiliating failure for the rule of law.”
(c) EFE Agency