BOGOTA – Six guerrillas and two soldiers died in fighting between military units and the FARC rebel group in Cauca, a province in southwestern Colombia, the army said Sunday.
The fighting between the army and the 6th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, started Friday in a rural area near the cities of Toribio and Caloto, the frequent targets of guerrilla attacks.
About 30 guerrillas redeployed into other areas after the clashes, the air force said.
The FARC is using the Indians who live in the area as “human shields” during clashes with the security forces, a major violation of human rights, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said Saturday in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca province.
Soldiers also use indigenous communities as “human shields,” leaving them caught in the cross-fire, Indian leaders from Cauca told Caracol Radio on Sunday.
The communities affected by the fighting have declared “permanent assemblies” to analyze the armed conflict and urge respect for their lives and rights, Indian leader Marcos Yule told the radio network.