News24

Colombian guerrillas attack soldiers

2011-10-23 14:14

Bogota - Leftist guerrillas killed 10 Colombian soldiers with an explosives attack on Saturday, raising to 20 the number killed in two days as a result of a rebel offensive before local elections on October 30.

The attack took place in eastern Arauca province on the border with Venezuela, the Colombian military said, blaming the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

A day earlier, a similar attack in southern Narino province, on the border with Ecuador, also killed 10 soldiers in what the military called the deadliest attack it had suffered this year.

The FARC traditionally stage attacks before elections. At the end of the month, Colombians will choose governors, mayors and city councillors nationwide.

At least 41 candidates have been killed in pre-election violence, the independent Electoral Observer Mission said.

Active since the 1960s, the Marxist-inspired FARC has been severely weakened since a military offensive launched in 2002. But it remains capable of staging attacks, due partly to cash raised through involvement in the illegal drug trade.