Suspected rebels kill two police officers in Colombia

Authorities on Saturday warned of "a macabre plan" by rebels to kill police officers in small towns after two officers were gunned down in southwest Colombia, the latest in a string of similar deadly attacks.

A pair of suspected fighters with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, pretended to crash their motorcycle in front of a police station Friday night in the town of Campoalegre, 260 kilometers (160 miles) southwest of Bogota, National Police chief Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro told reporters.

When the police officers left their protected station to lend a hand, the rebels stood up and shot them and stole their weapons before fleeing, he said. Including Friday's violence, at least 21 police officers have been killed in four attacks by suspected FARC fighters during the past three weeks. The FARC was blamed for killing three members of the police on Thursday in the remote town of Consaca, near the Ecuador border.

The FARC, which has been battling to overthrow the government since the 1960s, has this year stepped up its attacks on government forces, killing more than 350 members of the armed forces, including army and police, AP reports.

A. A.

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