An attack using explosives in southwestern Colombia on Friday killed eight police officers, President Gustavo Petro said.
“I strongly reject the attack with explosives where eight police died,” said Petro on Twitter, adding “solidarity with their families.”
The attack took place in a rural area in Huila department.
“It was an attack against a police patrol … it seems as though it was with explosives and they were killed with firearms,” a spokesperson for the regional police told AFP.
Authorities have not pointed the finger of blame at anyone.
It is the most serious attack on public security forces since former guerrilla Petro took over at the beginning of last month as Colombia’s first leftist president.
Petro has reopened dialogue with the National Liberation Army (ELN) — widely recognized as the last organized guerrilla group operating in Colombia.
His predecessor, the conservative Ivan Duque, had broken off peace talks following a 2019 car bomb attack on a police academy in Bogota that left 22 people dead.
Petro has also proposed a “multilateral” ceasefire with dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that laid down arms and signed a peace deal in 2016.
The president has sought a “total peace” policy in a bid to end six decades of conflict that also involves drug traffickers.
Some dissident factions and traffickers linked to the powerful Gulf Clan have shown an interest in joining the ceasefire.
“These actions demonstrate a clear sabotage of the total peace,” said Petro.
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