Some 4,000 members of the Colombian Armed Forces are on the trail of the FARC dissident known as ‘Guacho’, the most wanted by Colombia and Ecuador, three days after they announced having wounded him in combat, reported Tuesday, September 18, 2018 the army.
“The troops are fulfilling an extraordinary mission, a very difficult mission in a really challenging terrain, overwhelmed by 70% with a really complicated jungle,” General Alberto Mejía, commander of the Armed Forces, told reporters.
Walker Arizala alias ‘Guacho’ is wounded after fighting with the public forces, as reported last Saturday (September 15) by President Iván Duque and Defense Minister Guillermo Botero. “Only until we have his body or until we capture him alive can we look at the Colombian people in the eyes and tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” he said.
Botero said on Saturday that “Guacho” was shot twice in an area near the port of Tumaco, Nariño department (border with Ecuador), during clashes with Colombian troops. He specified that Arizala -of supposed Ecuadorian origin- had been picked up by escorts “in the heat of combat” in that region, which has the most narco-cultures in the world.
But on Tuesday Mejía said he does not want to “speculate” on the state of the leader of the so-called Oliver Sinisterra Front, which deviated from the peace agreement signed in 2017 with the previous government, which disarmed and transformed the former guerrilla party into a political party communist FARC.
“The only thing we have the right to do is to focus on locating the goal we have set for ourselves,” he said. Accused by the Colombian army of operating as an armed wing of the Mexican cartel in Sinaloa, the name of ‘Guacho’ gained strength earlier this year, when its men unleashed an unusual offensive against the Ecuadorian public forces on the border with Colombia.
Since January its attacks add up to a dozen deaths among the military and civilians, and some 40 injured. He is responsible for kidnapping and assassinating the press group of the newspaper El Comercio de Quito and a couple from Ecuador, in March and last April. Colombia and Ecuador then launched a fierce hunt against ‘Guacho’ on both sides of the border.
That Front disputes the Colombian Pacific, the point of departure for cocaine shipments to the United States, with other narco-trafficking and dissident groups of the FARC. Without a unified command, the dissidents of the FARC, which are estimated at about 1,200 fighters, are mainly engaged in drug trafficking and illegal mining. (I)