8th Division - Octova Division
In order to increase combat power, to confront the threat from narco terrorist groups in the eastern area of Colombia, the Army activated a new major operating unit in November 2009. The Eighth Division has its main command located in Yopal and with territorial jurisdiction in the departments of Arauca, Casanare, Guainía, Vichada and in the Boyaca municipalities of Cubará, Pisba, Paya, Labranza Grande and Pajarito. Among the missions assigned to the Eighth Division, one is to dismember the oriental block of FARC, ELNs eastern war front and the criminal mobs operating in this jurisdiction. Likewise, upon increasing the levels of security, this unit shall be fundamental in promoting progress and development for the region.
To be able to cover the 243,539 km² of assigned territory, the Armys Eighth Division shall be comprised of the 16th Brigade, the 18th and 20th Brigades, Mobile Brigade No. 5, Special Forces Group Seven, Plan Meteoro No 3 and Grupo Marte Divisionario No 8, specialized in detection and the activation of explosive devices.
The 16,000 men integrating this new Army unit were initially under the command of Brigadier General Javier Fernández Leal, who during the last few years had been Commander of the 27th Jungle Brigade in Putumayo and chief of Human Development for the Army. The military activation ceremony was presided by General Freddy Padilla de León, commander of the armed forces and by General Oscar Enrique Gonzalez Peña, commander of the Colombian Army, with attendance of civil and ecclesiastical authorities.
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