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World Briefing / Colombia

At least 4 soldiers slain while retrieving bodies

March 25, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

An attack by leftist rebels on an elite counterinsurgency unit killed four soldiers and left six missing in the country's southeastern plains, the defense minister said.

A platoon with the 62nd Counter-Guerrilla Battalion was retrieving the bodies of two rebels killed in a bombardment when the soldiers came under mortar attack, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told reporters.

He said one soldier was wounded in Monday's attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in an area of Guaviare state known as Cano Flauta. The Guaviare region is mostly flat, laced with rivers, thick jungle and plantations of coca, the basis for cocaine. Colombia's illegal armed groups are financed by the drug. A lieutenant and five soldiers are missing, the defense minister said.

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