HomeNewsBriefFARC Diversifying Tactics with Unconventional Explosives
BRIEF

FARC Diversifying Tactics with Unconventional Explosives

COLOMBIA / 28 FEB 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

With Colombia's largest rebel army increasingly relying on hit-and-run tactics, they have demonstrated cunning methods of orchestrating bombings, using trees and animals to mask explosive devices.

Within the last week, two separate reports emerged linking the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to unconventional explosive devices. In the first incident in the traditional guerrilla stronghold of Valle del Cauca, southwest Colombia, members of the military found several explosives hanging from trees in bags (see above image), reported El Pais.

The following day, newspaper El Espectador reported that the FARC had tortured a farmer who refused to plant a bomb on a donkey in the neighboring department of Cauca. The man had his mouth sewn shut with wire and received several stab wounds from the alleged guerrillas who had apparently intended to use the animal to attack a local police station.

InSight Crime Analysis

Though these two cases present some of the more unique tactics being used by the FARC, they are by no means isolated. The recent attack in the port city of Tumaco where a supposed bicycle bomb killed at least seven, including police officers, revealed the devastating effect unconventional bombs can have for the guerrillas while minimizing the group's own casualties.

Events in recent years have also suggested that the rebels occasionally use unwitting members of the public, particularly poor people or children, to carry an explosive device before detonating it once in the proximity of its target.

Combined, these examples point to the increasing move towards hit-and-run style tactics by the FARC, carried out by smaller units as opposed to the larger FARC Fronts. This has largely been a result of the government's increasing military presence in traditional guerrilla strongholds in the south and center of the country, and the group's dwindling numbers over the last decade, down from some 20,000 during the 1998-2002 peace talks to roughly 8,000 today.

As InSight Crime has noted, the increasing diversification towards unconventional tactics has made recent FARC proclamations about the abandonment of its historic practice of kidnapping seem more sincere than in the past.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 6 MAY 2022

After the Urabeños’ former leader, alias Otoniel, was extradited to the United States this week, the group ordered a show…

COCAINE / 21 NOV 2022

Feuding guerrilla factions for control of Colombia’s coca-rich southern state of Putumayo continue to claim dozens of lives.

BRAZIL / 28 DEC 2021

There was record destruction of the Amazon in 2020, as the rainforest lost an area around the size of Belize,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…