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Rebel Ambush Kills 6 Colombian Policemen

FARC guerrillas lure officers by forcing motorists to block road, authorities say.

January 21, 2003|From Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — Rebels ambushed a pickup truck carrying policemen in northern Colombia on Monday, killing six officers and their civilian driver in a hail of gunfire and grenades, officials said.

Two officers who survived the attack on the mountain pass were wounded, Bolivar province Gov. Gustavo Lecompte said.

He said 30 rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were responsible.

Police Col. Jesus Antonio Gomez said the guerrillas lured the police officers to the area near the village of Zambrano, 375 miles north of Bogota, by forcing motorists to block a highway with their vehicles.

The region is among President Alvaro Uribe's "rehabilitation zones," where the military and police presence has been heightened to crack down on outlawed armies.

The 50-year-old president, whose father was killed by FARC rebels in 1983, asked the nation to look past the day's bloodshed.

"We are not going to win this battle overnight. There are difficulties, defeats," he said. "But persevering, sharpening our will ... we have to move forward."

It was the second rebel ambush on police in as many weeks in Colombia.

On Jan. 7, FARC rebels ambushed a police convoy west of Bogota, the capital, killing eight police officers and wounding five.

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