Drug Dealers Kill Six Soldiers, 6 Wounded And 4 Other Soldiers Missing (PHOTOS)
Six Soldiers assigned to the Colombian Army’s Fourth Brigade were killed during an ambush orchestrated by the Gulf Clan on Tuesday night.
Six other soldiers were injured and four more remained missing Authorities say the attack was launched by the cartel in response to the tons of cocaine that have been seized in previous months.
Troops from the Army’s Fourth Brigade were traveling through in the Frontino township of Nutibara on Tuesday night when their truck was overturned by explosives, the National Army said in a statement.
The victims have been identified as Edwar Agudelo; Emir Zabaleta; Yonaiker Cordero; Juan Lozano; Kevin Altamiranda; and Héctor Buelvas.
Six other soldiers – whose names have not been released – were wounded and were treated by combat medics and later evacuated to medical facilities, the army said in a statement.
The military has launched a search mission to locate four soldiers reported missing in the area.
General Juvenal Díaz, commander of the Army’s 7th Division, told Blu Radio that he feared for the well-being of the missing soldiers.
‘Unfortunately they may be dead or injured or they could take shelter somewhere in that jungle area while dawn breaks and the troops locate them,’ he said.
Authorities said the attack was launched by the Gulf Clan cartel’s Edwin Román Velásquez cell.
The criminal organization operates in the area.
The Colombian Army said the attack was launched by the Gulf Clan in response to the tons of cocaine that security forces have seized in recent months.
Prior to the ambush, the brigade had been involved in an operation against the Gulf Clan in a corridor that connects that the municipality of Frontino with the cities of Ituango and Bajo Cuaca that left one cartel member dead and another – identified as a minor – under arrest.
‘This terrorist method is being carried out with ex-combatants of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) who were experts … in the use of explosives as a weapon,’ Díaz told reporters. ‘They (the Gulf Clan) have recruited several of these former FARC members and use them to activate improvised explosive devices.
‘It does not require many me (or) preparation. Some civilians can help prepare in the area and a person who activates it, either by remote control, cable or another system, to affect to the troops.’
At least two Frontino police officers were killed in similar fashion when their vehicle was struck by an explosive in August 2021.
The municipality remains on high alert and an emergency security council was convened with the local and military authorities.
Defense Minister Diego Molano condemned Gulf Clan’s ‘cowardly’ attack,’ indicating the carte’ sought revenge for the ‘recent hard blows’ it had been dealt.
‘We increased the presence of troops to find the whereabouts of these bandits,’ he wrote on Twitter.
The former leader of the Gulf Clan, Dario Úsuga, is awaiting extradition to the United States, where he is accused of drug trafficking.
Úsuga, known by the alias ‘Otoniel,’ was captured in an operation involving more than 500 soldiers in October 2021.
He was indicted by the Southern District of New York in 2009.
The cartel has a presence in 17 of Colombia’s 25 departments and is an ally of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s old Sinaloa Cartel.