Colombia: April 14, 2004


 President Uribe apologized for the death of five civilians, killed at night by an army patrol who mistook the family (taking a sick child to a doctor) for FARC rebels. The president said that only aggressive operations by the army could end the decades of war and unrest brought about by the rebels and the drug gangs. 

Such tactics also left three soldiers dead in a friendly fire accident. 

In the southwest, troops rescued 28 kidnapping victims of FARC. Such aggressive military operations are making it harder for the rebels to run their kidnapping and extortion rackets and are even making it difficult for them to keep existing members and recruit new ones. 

The government has rejuvenated the army and police, and developed tactics that have put the rebels and drug gangs on the defensive. While this has done wonders for morale among most Colombians, it still leaves the country a mess, with high levels of violence and criminal and political gangs controlling over a third of the country.


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