France24 video: Colombia’s elite troops fighting the FARC
Alavaro Uribe made the fight against the FARC the cornerstone of his presidency. Colombia’s elite troops are in charge of defeating the guerrillas in the heart of the jungle.
In March reporters Ibar Aibar and Sebastian Dufour followed the Colombian military’s special armed forces, forces responsible for carrying out President Alvaro Uribe fight againt the FARC. They were also the ones who liberated Ingrid Betancourt.
These hand-picked men were trained by the U.S. military and are well-equipped. They track FARC leaders across the thick Colombian jungle. For days on end they hike across mountain passes that are 3, 000 metres high carrying 50 kilogramme-backpacks, braving rain and mud, eating monkey meat and remaining primed for battle at all times. But those times of battle are becoming increasingly rare.
“We control the areas where the guerillas have gathered their weapon reserves, their food and their medical supplies,” says Colonel Luis Gomez, adding that the FARC is pulling back as more and more people defect from their ranks.
The Colombian army extracts information from these defectors. Military forces would be useless without this in a zone where thermal cameras alone cannot track rebels.
Ibar Aibar has seen a “Colombian army which is extremely hardened.” Four months after filming he is not surprised by the army’s latest exploit: the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages.
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