Eight civilians killed in Colombia attack

Thirteen others were injured in an attack on a bus attributed to leftist rebels in southern Colombia.
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Published on Feb 26, 2006 03:39 PM IST
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None | ByAgence France-Presse, Bogota (colombia)

Eight civilians were killed and 13 others injured in an attack on a bus attributed to leftist rebels in southern Colombia.

Insurgents on Saturday shot at the tires of a bus travelling in Caqueta province, where the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have imposed an "armed strike" preventing vehicles from moving for the past ten days, according to the military.

The bus careened out of control and flipped, and FARC insurgents then opened fire on the passengers and tried to set the vehicle ablaze, a spokesman for the military command said.

Soldiers that arrived quickly at the scene managed to capture three insurgents after the attack.

One of the wounded, Virgelina Rios, told RCN radio network that the vehicle suddenly came under gunfire "with no regard for the children aboard."

The army announced on Friday that they would provide armed escort for convoys of vehicles in the region. The bus that was attacked however was not in a guarded convoy.

The 18,000-strong FARC is the largest and best equipped insurgent force in Colombia. The area where the attack occurred, located some 590 kilometres south of Bogota, is a rebel stronghold.

The leftist rebels have stepped up its attacks to defend their countryside influence in advance of legislative and presidential elections in 2006, according to analysts.

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