Colombian rebel groups join forces to fight against government

December 17th, 2009 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Dec 17 (EFE) Colombia’s two largest guerrilla groups have joined forces in the fight against the government of President Alvaro Uribe, the leaders of the two groups said in a joint statement.
“We aim to work for unity to confront the current regime with firmness,” the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (NLA) said in the statement posted on the website of the Stockholm-based leftist news agency ANNCOL Wednesday.

“Only the unity and decisive action of patriotic Colombians, of democrats, of revolutionaries and of all of us who harbor hopes of a political solution will be able to stop the war, find peace and make possible the construction of a New Colombia,” it said.

Bogota receives about $500 million a year in military aid from Washington and recently signed a pact giving US forces access to seven bases in Colombia.

The FARC, which at its peak had an estimated 20,000 fighters, is now thought to number around 9,000, while the ELN is about half that size. Both guerrilla armies have battled a succession of Colombian governments since the mid-1960s and both are labeled as terrorists by the Uribe government and the US.

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