Despite small gains in negotiations between the government and FARC rebels, the violent insurgency campaign has claimed more victims. President Santos has called recent events "acts of terror."
Marxist rebels killed two police officers and a civilian in the Colombia's southwestern Cauca province, the government announced. The attack came as the guerrilla fighters continued to increase its violence against the country's infrastructure and armed forces.
Colonel Alfredo Ruiz Clavijo, traveling in a police vehicle in Narino along the border with Ecuador, was shot after a roadside bomb was detonated near his car. A patrolman and a passing civilian also died in the attack.
"The colonel and the patrolman were killed by gunshots," director of the national police General Rodolfo Palomino said.
'Acts of terror'
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who have been in peace talks with the government for 30 months, had just recently intensified their offensive after calling off their unilateral ceasefire. The rebels have repeatedly demanded a bilateral ceasefire while the talks continue, but President Juan Manuel Santos has insisted that hostilities will end only after a peace deal is signed. On a recent visit to Brussels, Santos called the ongoing attacks “acts of terror.”
Colombian officials also blamed FARC rebels for an attack on the country's energy infrastructure earlier this week, which had left hundreds of thousands of people without power. The blackout reportedly affected up to 470,000 people in the southern Caquetá province and was still being resolved. Rebels have hit almost daily at roadways, power networks and oil trucks and pipelines, since the 8,000-strong FARC lifted the truce three weeks ago.
Negotiators at the talks have so far reached agreements on land reform, an end to the illegal drugs trade and political participation for ex-rebels. But the country's armed forces in particular continue to lock horns with the FARC rebels.
"We reject the vile murder of Ipiales district commander Coronel Alfredo Ruiz Clavijo and patrolman Juan David Marmolejo by the FARC," the defense ministry said on Twitter. "The FARC are showing they don't have the will for peace, but for war."
The 51-year-old conflict has killed more than 220,000 and has displaced millions.
ss/bk (Reuters, AFP, AP)