Skip to main content

At least 19 killed as rebels, soldiers clash in Colombia

By CNN Staff
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Sun July 21, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 15 soldiers are killed in one attack, four in another
  • 12 rebels are captured, says the president
  • The violence comes amid peace talks between the government and the FARC

(CNN) -- At least 19 soldiers were killed over the weekend in separate clashes with rebels in Colombia, the country's president said.

President Juan Manuel Santos reported attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the FARC, in Arauca and Caqueta.

In the department of Arauca, which borders Venezuela, rebels ambushed a group of soldiers guarding an oil pipeline. Fifteen soldiers were killed and 12 rebels were captured, Santos said.

Another four soldiers were killed in Caqueta, which is a department in the south of the country.

"The instructions to our forces are as follows: Don't stop shooting, even for an instant until we reach the end of the conflict," the president said, according to his office.

Santos vowed operations will continue until those responsible are held to account.

The violence comes amid peace talks between the government and the FARC. The two sides have been at war since the 1960s.

Santos has said he wants talks, which started last year and are taking place in Cuba, wrapped up by November.

There have been sporadic attempts at peace in the past.

The last effort fell apart in 2002. Then-President Andres Pastrana ceded an area the size of Switzerland to the guerrilla group, but he ended negotiations after rebels launched a series of attacks across the country in an apparent bid to strengthen their position.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 12:47 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT