US embassy cable - 85BOGOTA555

DISSIDENT FARC GROUP ATTACKS COLOMBIAN NAVY BOAT

Identifier: 85BOGOTA555
Wikileaks: View 85BOGOTA555 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Bogota
Created: 1985-01-17 14:14:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PINS CO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 171414Z JAN 85
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7774
INFO USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS//SCJ2//
DIA WASHDC
JCS//J5//WASHDC
USSOUTHCOM QUARRY HEIGHTS//JS//
USAFSO/DOI HOWARD AFB PN
UNCLAS BOGOTA 00555 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  PINS, CO 
SUBJECT:  DISSIDENT FARC GROUP ATTACKS COLOMBIAN 
          NAVY BOAT 
 
1.  ON JANUARY 14 A DISSIDENT COLUMN OF FARC GUERRILLAS 
ATTACKED A COLOMBIAN NAVY BOAT ON PATROL IN THE 
MAGDALENA RIVER, SOUTH OF BARRANCABERMEJA IN 
SANTANDER DEPARTMENT.  ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, 
THREE MARINES WERE KILLED AND THREE OTHERS WOUNDED. 
THE NAVY BOAT WAS FIRED UPON BY APPROXIMATELY 20 
MEN ARMED WITH MORTARS AND SUB-MACHINE GUNS. 
- 
2.  MILITARY SOURCES INDICATED TO REPORTERS THAT 
FOUR NAVY BOATS WERE EN ROUTE TO ECOPETROL 
INSTALLATIONS IN THE TOWN OF CASABLE TO REFUEL AND 
THEN WERE TO CONTINUE PATROLLING THE MAGDALENA RIVER 
WHEN THE SURPRISE STRIKE OCCURRED.  THE MASKED 
GUERRILLAS ATTACKED FROM SPEEDBOATS AND THEN 
FLED DOWN RIVER, AFTER SEIZING ARMS FROM SOME OF 
THE NAVY BOATS. 
- 
3.  THE SAILORS IDENTIFIED THE GUERRILLAS AS 
MEMBERS OF THE FARC.  THE BOGOTA PAPER "EL TIEMPO" 
REPORTED HAVING RECEIVED A COMMUNIQUE FROM THE 
DISSIDENT RICARDO FRANCO FRONT WHICH PROCLAIMED 
THE FRONT'S INTENTION TO CONTINUE ARMED COMBAT. 
- 
4.  COMMENT:  THIS IS THE LATEST AND MOST VIOLENT 
OF SEVERAL RECENT INCIDENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN 
VARIOUSLY ATTRIBUTED TO ELN AND FARC GUERRILLAS. 
END COMMENT. 
- 
5.  DAO COMMENT:  THIS IS THE FIRST MAJOR INCIDENT IN 
THE RELATIVELY QUIET MAGDALENA MEDIO REGION IN SEVERAL 
MONTHS.  IT IS ALSO THE FIRST TIME THAT THE INSURGENTS 
HAVE ATTACKED THE MARINE CORPS/NAVY PATROL BOATS 
WITH SUCH BRUTALITY AND IMPUNITY.  AFTER CORINTO 
THE GENERAL TREND IN THE MOST RECENT GUERRILLA/TERRORIST 
ACTS IS TO PLACE THE BLAME ON FARC DISSIDENT GROUPS 
OR THE PROSCRIBED ELN--WHILE THE PEACE PROCESS MOVES 
ON OVER VERY SHAKY GROUNDS.  END DAO COMMENT. 
 
TULL 

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