Leftist rebels gunned down four police officers who were on food patrol in a remote town in southern Colombia, police said Saturday.
Fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, sprayed the officers with automatic weapons fire as they walked across a park late Friday in Campoalegre, 270 kilometers (170 miles) southwest of the capital, Bogota, police said. Police offered a US$20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the assailants.
The FARC and a smaller rebel group called the ELN have been battling to topple the government in Colombia for four decades. The guerrillas finance themselves through kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking and have been blamed for numerous atrocities.
Also Saturday, prosecutors announced that three soldiers had been placed under investigation a step short of formal charges for allegedly raping a minor during counterinsurgency operations in November 2003.
The soldiers, posing as FARC guerrillas, allegedly broke into a house in Tame, 340 kilometers (210 miles) northeast of Bogota, and made off with a minor who was later raped, the attorney general's office said in a statement. The suspects' names were not released, reported AP. P.T.