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18 dead in Colombia clashes

world Updated: May 10, 2007 09:10 IST

IANS
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A bomb attack killed nine police officers in Colombia and nine leftist rebels were killed elsewhere in the country in fighting with the military, officials said.

The police officers were killed on Wednesday in Chorolo in Santander province in the country's northeast, when a roadside bomb exploded on a passing police vehicle. A police spokesman said leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels planted the bomb.

The police were on their way to clear plants used in cocaine production. FARC finances itself largely through the illegal drug trade.

Elsewhere, fighting between the military and FARC rebels in the country's northwest and south left six rebels dead. Three members of the smaller rebel group National Liberation Army (ELN) were killed in clashes near the border with Venezuela and in central Colombia.

FARC has been fighting with government forces for more than 40 years.