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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
Text of interview with Military Forces Commander Gen Freddy Padilla de Leon by Libardo Cardona Martinez: "Tierradentro shows the FARC's lack of ability", published by Colombian newspaper El Espectador website on 4 November
The last two months have been a sort of Calvary for the Armed Forces. There has been no letup in the terrorist attacks by the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] (there have been four attacks over a very brief period) and the credibility of the military is low following reports that two officers apparently staged terrorist attacks in order to generate results to present to their superiors. These are difficult times for a man who recently became commander of the Military Forces: Gen Freddy Padilla De Leon. In an interview with El Espectador, Commander Padilla comes face-to-face with the country following the setbacks suffered by his troops.
[Cardona] What did the Armed Forces fail to do in Tierradentro (Cordoba department) that allowed the FARC to deal it such a harsh blow?
[Padilla] Tierradentro is a demonstration of the FARC's incapacity. According to the townspeople, 800 guerrillas attacked the town, but our estimates mention 120. However, regardless of the amount of guerrillas, the decision to attack the town of Tierradentro was made because it is an isolated town that as of today continues to have difficulty to transport food to its inhabitants. That is why the President has ordered the Navy to build a canoe to cross the river, in order to resolve this difficulty. They attacked a municipality that is quite distant from the centres of power, and yet they were not able to take over the town, which was courageously defended by less than 60 policemen.
[Cardona] However, several alerts had been made regarding the possibility of the FARC attacking that town...
[Padilla] The alerts were not only about Tierradentro, but about other towns as well. As a result of the alerts, several days ago the Police reinforced its post with 18 additional policemen. The Military Forces were engaged in an operation north and south of that location and, six days ago, managed to take down five guerrillas …