Colombia: Leftist rebels end armed blockade

Leftist rebels on Wednesday announced an end to a nearly monthlong armed blockade in northwest Colombia during which they torched vehicles that defied a travel ban, blew up bridges and electricity towers and killed police officers.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a statement sent to local radio stations in northwest Arauca province that the blockade had "successfully achieved all its goals" and would end on Thursday.

Fearful drivers in Arauca have been staying off roads and highways, causing food and other shortages, while thousands of residents have been living largely without electricity due to FARC attacks on the region's energy infrastructure, the AP reports.

At least eight people, including five people officers and a town councilman, were killed in attacks and sporadic firefighters with the guerrillas. The government deployed additional forces to Arauca and insisted roads were safe, but residents remained unconvinced. A.M.

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