Colombia's two biggest rebel groups may unite

The two groups have deep ideological differences but now appear willing to consider uniting for the sake of survival.

Colombia's two biggest rebel groups may unite

Colombia's two biggest rebel groups said on Wednesday they may join forces against the state.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) issued a surprise joint statement in which they threatened to unite with "force and belligerence" in their fight against President Alvaro Uribe.

The two groups have deep ideological differences but now appear willing to consider uniting for the sake of survival.

"We are on our way toward working for unity," said the statement signed by the FARC and ELN. It was published on the ANNCOL news agency website (http://anncol.eu/) which is often the first to carry Colombian rebel statements.

"Our only enemy is North American Imperialism and its oligarchic lackeys," the statement said.

The ELN, formed by Catholic priests and inspired by the liberation theology movement of the 1960s, has clashed repeatedly with the hard-line communist FARC.

The ELN says it has 5,000 fighters. The FARC is estimated by the government to have about 9,000 troops.

The FARC-ELN statement was released minutes after Colombia's air force announced that it had killed a key FARC commander and nine of his bodyguards in a bombing raid carried out in the mountainous northwest of the country.

The death of Ruben Garcia, known as Danilo, head of the FARC's ninth front, was the latest blow to the guerrilla army, which has been steadily weakened by battlefield defeats and record desertions since Uribe first came to power in 2002.

"You don't answer terrorists with anything other than force," Vice President Francisco Santos told reporters in response to the FARC-ELN statement.


Reuters


Last Mod: 17 Aralık 2009, 17:08
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