The deadly terrorist attacks are taking place in Cauca, a southwestern region that has seen many incidents of violence.
Six Colombian soldiers have been killed in a battle with rebels in the southwestern region of Cauca, where the government is trying to end a decades-long conflict.
Colombia’s military said on Tuesday that the death was a result of fighting against rebels affiliated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a leftist rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government in 2016.
President Gustavo Petro, who is pursuing a “complete peace” policy with the South American country’s remaining armed forces, said the soldiers killed were between the ages of 18 and 20. They faced bombs, explosive devices and gunfire during the incident, according to what the army said.
“It was a work in progress” with one of the disaffected groups, Peter said.
Three soldiers were also killed by FARC rebels over the weekend in the same area, where the militias are involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
The rebels, who rejected a peace deal between the FARC and the government, said in September that they were ready to negotiate to lay down their arms.
Since Petro took office in August as Colombia’s first left-wing president, he and his aides have met with the leaders of the two rebel FARC factions with an eye toward peace talks. There are about 5,200 active combatants, according to the Indepaz think tank.
“At the moment, we have only discussed possibilities [of a ceasefire]nothing more,” said Petro on Tuesday, following a meeting with senior members of Colombia’s security forces.
Violence has occurred spread to Colombia in recent years, especially in some parts of the country that are outside the government’s control.
Citing figures from the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), the Norwegian Refugee Council said last month that more than 2.6 million people had been prevented from traveling so far this year due to the ongoing violence across the country.
As part of Petro’s peace plan, Colombia recently resumed talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s largest remaining rebel group.
Over the weekend, the president announced that the talks, which took place in neighboring Venezuela, had resulted in an agreement to allow the Embera people to return home.
The community fled violence between drug gangs, right-wing militias and the ELN. Many have sought shelter in the capital, Bogota, where they have protested for protection, housing and jobs.
On Wednesday, Petro’s government will resume peacekeeping operations in Buenaventura, a Pacific port city where about 1,600 armed youths are believed to be involved in drug trafficking.