Bogota – Seven soldiers and one guerrilla were killed Friday when leftist FARC rebels ambushed a patrol in the jungles of the southern Colombian province of Nariño, authorities said.
Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack, which took place along the road linking Pasto, the provincial capital, to the Pacific port of Tumaco, Nariño Gov. Antonio Navarro Wolff told reporters.
He attributed the assault to members of the FARC's Daniel Aldana Column, known to operate in the province bordering Ecuador.
The troops were patrolling an area of palm-oil plantations that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is trying to convert into a "corridor" from the jungle to the Pacific coast, Colombia's military chief said.
Gen. Alejandro Navas said the rebels targeted the rural patrol because the armed forces' "Plan Democracy" strategy to ensure security for the Oct. 30 municipal and regional elections has limited the FARC's ability to attack urban areas and vital infrastructure.