Colombia to Deploy Air Power Against Criminal Gangs
May 9, 2016 By Staff
Top Story — Colombia’s government will deploy military aircraft to fight the three major drug trafficking and illegal mining gangs in the country, the BBC reported.
The announcement, made by Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas on Friday, signals a renewed focus by the Colombian government to fight the powerful criminal gangs that emerged from right-wing paramilitary groups as the country inches closer to a peace deal with the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Air raids against the FARC are currently suspended as part of prolonged peace negotiations in Havana with the group. The defense minister’s announcement on Friday indicates that forces which would have otherwise been used against the FARC will be redirected to combat three major criminal organizations: the Clan Usuga (formerly known as the Urabeños), Los Pelusos and Los Puntilleros.
Villegas, the defense minister, said that the government’s plan “will allow the application of the entire force of the state, without exception, against organized armed groups,” the BBC reported.
The United States will cooperate with the Colombian government’s fight against the criminal gangs by providing intelligence support, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday. He added that his administration will increase the military resources used against them once a peace deal is signed with the FARC.
All told, some 3,000 people make up the Clan Usuga, Los Pelusos and Los Puntilleros groups. They formed following a 2006 peace deal with paramilitary groups made during former President Álvaro Uribe’s administration.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
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- Major League Baseball has canceled a two-game series in Puerto Rico between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins due to concerns over the Zika virus.
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