BOGOTA – Colombian police blamed leftist guerrillas for a homemade mortar attack in northwestern Colombia that injured nine people, four of them seriously, officials said Saturday.
The deputy National Police chief in Antioquia province, Col. Hector Cruz, said Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebels threw three mortars Friday night at an army platoon.
“One of the mortars struck a home ... destroying it completely, another (hit) an adjacent home and a third (landed) near where army personnel were located,” without harming the soldiers, Cruz said.
Nine people, including four minors, were wounded by the explosions within the limits of the town of El Bagre.
Four of the injured were transferred by air force helicopter to a hospital in Medellin, the provincial capital, and one of them – a girl identified as Olga Perez – is reportedly in critical condition.
“The other five people, including three boys and a girl, are under observation” at the hospital in El Bagre and reportedly suffered multiple fractures and vascular complications, he added.
Authorities say the attack was carried out by the FARC in retaliation for military operations in that region.
A security meeting headed by Antioquia Gov. Luis Alfredo Ramos was scheduled for Saturday to analyze the increased presence of drug-running leftist guerrillas and rightist paramilitaries in El Bagre and neighboring communities.
Authorities say that area of Antioquia has the highest homicide rate in the region due to a dispute between a gang of drug traffickers headed by Angel Pacheco, alias “Sebastian,” and another group formerly led by Daniel Rendon, alias “Don Mario.”
The FARC has fought a decades-old armed struggle against a succession of Colombian governments.