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Four police, five others killed in attacks blamed on Colombian armed groups

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A member of the security forces aims during a demonstration against police brutality in Bogotá, Colombia, on September 13, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Four policemen were among nine people killed in three separate attacks blamed on Colombian armed groups that continue to sow mayhem in the country in contravention of a peace pact, authorities said Sunday.

Three off-duty police died in an attack by armed men in the northeastern town of Pailitias in which one of the officers' pregnant wife was injured, a police statement said.

It did not identify the attackers but the ELN, Colombia's last active guerilla group, is known to operate in the area.

In the country's south, five men were found murdered in San Vicente del Caguan, mayor Julian Perdomo told AFP, lamenting that "frequently, peasants are being found murdered" in the countryside there.

Such attacks are blamed by authorities on dissidents who rejected a 2016 peace deal that led to the disarming of the FARC guerilla group.

A fourth policeman died in "an incursion by an armed group" in a neighborhood of the city of Cali in the southwest, according to mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina.

He did not identify the culprits but military intelligence says FARC dissidents and ELN guerillas are active around Cali, as well as paramilitary groups and drug traffickers.

Including the latest killings in San Vicente del Caguan, the Colombian observer group Indepaz says there have been 45 massacres -- the killing of three or more people in a single event -- so far this year.

President Ivan Duque's government blames groups financed by drug trafficking and illegal mining.

Colombia is in the midst of its worst outbreak of violence since the peace deal that ended Latin America's most powerful insurgency.

On Friday, a helicopter carrying Duque was attacked near the Venezuela border, with several shots -- apparently from rifles -- fired at it.

It was the first attack on a Colombian head of state in nearly 20 years.

(Source: AFP)

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