The commander of the Colombian Military Forces, General Alberto Mejía, said on September 18 that he cannot “confirm or disprove” that Walter Patricio Arizala, alias Guacho, a FARC dissident, is wounded or killed after a fight with the security forces , occurred on Saturday in Nariño, border department with Ecuador.
“I cannot confirm or distort, what is clear is that we do not have the main objective under our control,” Mejía told reporters when asked about the state of health of Guacho, who apparently received two shots during a combat with force public.
On Saturday, Colombian President Iván Duque and Defense Minister Guillermo Botero informed that the guerrilla was wounded in a joint operation between the Army, the Navy and the Police in the municipality of Tumaco.
The group of FARC dissidents headed by “Guacho”, the self-styled Oliver Sinisterra Front, kidnapped on March 26 a team of the newspaper El Comercio, made up of journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paúl Rivas and driver Efraín Segarra, who were subsequently killed in captivity.
In mid-April the same armed group also kidnapped and then murdered the couple composed Óscar Efrén Villacís Gómez and Katty Vanessa Velasco Pinargote, both equally Ecuadorians.
Mejía said that “until we have his body or until we capture him alive” no official information can be given, so he said he prefers not to “speculate” on the subject.
He also assured that “Guacho” is a “high value target” for the Military Forces and detailed that the operation against him, called “Anguilla”, contemplates land and river closures that help to “hunt the target”.
“This operation is a mission of persistence (…) and we consider that the troops fulfilled an extraordinary mission, they fulfilled a very difficult mission in a really challenging, complicated terrain, overwhelmed by 70%,” said Mejía. (I)