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Rebels Executed 13 Police, Colombia Says

July 16, 2000|Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — Thirteen police officers defending a small Andean mountain town from a rebel missile attack were executed after they surrendered, Colombian officials said.

The military said Saturday that 20 guerrillas died in an army counterattack, but this report could not be independently confirmed.

The police officers fought all night, but their ammunition ran out after daybreak Saturday in Roncesvalles, the besieged farming and ranching town in Tolima state, southwest of Bogota, the capital.

When the officers tried to surrender, the guerrillas walked into the police barracks and shot them, national Police Chief Gen. Ernesto Gilibert told reporters.

"They all had a point-blank shot to the head," the general said.

One officer who survived the attack was being treated for his wounds, Gilibert said.

The fighting was part of an apparent offensive by the country's largest leftist insurgents, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Roncesvalles is the fifth town in the same southwestern area attacked by the FARC since Tuesday.

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