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DATE=7/12/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251690 TITLE=COLOMBIA/GUERRILLAS MONDAY (L-ONLY) BYLINE=STEVEN DUDLEY DATELINE=BOGOTA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE COLOMBIAN ARMY CLAIMS IT HAS THWARTED A WEEKEND OFFENSIVE BY LEFTIST GUERRILLAS IN ITS ENTIRETY. AS PROOF THE ARMY TOOK THE LOCAL AND FOREIGN PRESS TO SEE THE CORPSES OF DEAD GUERRILLAS. FROM BOGOTA, STEVEN DUDLEY REPORTS. TEXT : THE ARMY LEFT THE BODIES OF THE 30 GUERRILLAS FROM THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST REBEL GROUP, THE FARC, UNCOVERED FOR ALL THE JOURNALISTS TO SEE. THE DEAD LAY IN THEIR OWN POOL OF BLOOD AND FLIES ENTERED AND EXITED THE FATAL WOUNDS. ACCORDING TO THE ARMY, THESE PARTICULAR REBELS LAUNCHED BOTH EXPLOSIVE GAS CYLINDERS AND HAND GRENADES IN A BID TO OVERRUN THE POLICE STATION IN PUERTO LLERAS IN SOUTHEASTERN COLOMBIA. BUT THE ATTACK THAT LEFT BUILDINGS ALL AROUND THE POLICE STATION DESTROYED FAILED AND THE FLEEING GUERRILLAS WERE GUNNED DOWN BY THE ARMY. COLONEL PAULINO CORONADO IS A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE ARMY: ( CORONADO IN SPANISH) COLONEL CORONADO SAYS THESE ARE ONLY A FEW OF THE CORPSES. THERE ARE MORE, BUT WE COULD NOT FIND THEM. THE ARMY ORGANIZED THE TRIP TO SEE THE BATTLE SITES AMIDST QUESTIONS THAT IT HAD EXAGGERATED THE REBEL BODY COUNT. BOTH SIDES CLAIM TO HAVE KILLED MORE THAN THE OTHER DURING THE THREE-DAY OFFENSIVE. HOWEVER, NO INDEPENDENT SOURCE HAS CONFIRMED THE COUNTS, AND IT IS UNLIKELY THE TRUE NUMBER WILL COME OUT. NEITHER THE FARC NOR THE GOVERNMENT HAS SAID WHETHER THE FIGHTING WILL AFFECT PEACE NEGOTIATIONS THE TWO SIDES ARE EXPECTED TO REINITIATE ON JULY 20TH. LATE LAST YEAR THE GOVERNMENT GRANTED A PIECE OF TERRITORY THE SIZE OF SWITZERLAND TO THE REBELS TO JUMP-START THE TALKS. MANY OF THE ATTACKS THIS WEEKEND WERE LAUNCHED FROM AGUERRILLA-CONTROLLED ZONE. THE ZONE HAS BEEN CONSTANT SOURCE OF CONTROVERSY ESPECIALLY AMONGST THE MILITARY. ARMY COMMANDER GENERAL JORGE ENRIQUE MORA SAYS THE GUERRILLA-CONTROLLED TERRITORY MAY BE BEING USED TO LUANCH ATTACK AGAINST THE MILITARY. ( MORA ACT IN SPANISH) THE MAJORITY OF THE FARC TROOPS CAME FROM THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE, GENERAL MORA SAID. THE COUNTRY SHOULD MAKE THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT IS A LABORATORY OF PEACE OR ALABORATORY OF WAR. I CANNOT TELL THEM. MEANWHILE THE GUERRILLA OFFENSIVE CONTINUES. THE FARC ATTACKED THREE DIFFERENT TOWNS MONDAY AND HAVE STRANDED OVER 300 PEOPLE AT ROADBLOCKS ALONG SEVERAL MAJOR HIGHWAYS. THE REBELS SAID THEY WILL SUSTAIN THE ROADBLOCKS UNTIL NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN ANEW LATER THIS MONTH WHILE THE GOVERNMENT HAS YET TO LIFT THE NIGHTTIME CURFEW IT IMPOSED ON TEN STATES SINCE SATURDAY. (SIGNED) NEB/SD/PT 12-Jul-99 11:56 PM EDT (0356 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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