Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia police suffer deadly attacks

Police officer in front of wrecked police station in Villa Rica. 2 Feb 2012
Explosives were detonated outside the police station in Villa Rica

At least six people have been killed and more than a dozen injured in an attack on a police station in western Colombia.

The violence in Villa Rica comes a day after 11 people were killed in an explosion in Tumaco, in the south.

Police blamed that attack on the left-wing rebel group, the Farc.

The rebels have been stepping up their offensive against the security forces since their leader was killed in a military operation in November.

Police officials said the commander of the police statio was among those killed when explosive devices went off outside the police station in Villa Rica, in Cauca province.

Targeted attacks

Eighteen police officers were in the station at the time of the explosion.

Preliminary investigations indicate gas cylinders laden with explosives were used in the attack.

On Wednesday, 11 people were killed and 79 injured when an explosive device went off outside a police station in the Pacific port city of Tumaco.

The explosion happened as the police commander for the region, Gen Jorge Nieto Rojas, and his senior staff were meeting at the station to devise a new strategy to fight drug trafficking in the area.

Gen Nieto Rojas was not hurt.

Three hundred extra police have been sent to Tumaco to improve security and help track down those behind the attack.

Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzon has offered 1,200 million-peso reward ($670,000; £425,000) for information leading to the capture of alias Rambo, the Farc rebel suspected of the attack.

Mayor of Tumaco Victor Gallo has imposed a nighttime curfew and schools stayed closed on Thursday.

Tumaco is one of Colombia's most lawless cities, where drug trafficking gangs and leftist rebels fight for control of the lucrative Pacific coast drug smuggling routes.

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