BOGOTA, Colombia – Rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia attacked a tiny village in western Colombia on Saturday, killing five police officers and kidnapping six others, top government officials said.
Just before dawn, dozens of FARC fighters encircled the village of San Marino, 170 miles west of Bogota, and then began shooting at police officers, National Police chief Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro said.
The attorney general's office reported five officers were killed and six kidnapped. Victor Mosquera, the government's human rights representative in the region, said witnesses reported that four other police officers and four civilians were injured in the fighting.
Castro said army troops were headed to the area to track down the guerrillas.
The 12,000-strong FARC, Colombia's main rebel group, has been fighting for more than four decades to overthrow the government. The group also is involved in drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom, and has been placed on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.
President Alvaro Uribe launched a military offensive against the FARC three years ago, but the rebels remain a potent force by using surprise attacks in remote parts of the country. More than 30 police officers in far-off towns such as San Marino have been killed by the FARC in the past three months.