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Published: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 3:30:02 AM
Updated: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 3:30:52 AM

Eight killed, 20 injured in Colombia bomb attack blamed on FARC

BOGOTA (Reuters) - At least eight people were killed and 20 injured in a bomb attack on Saturday in a village in southern Colombia that the military blamed on left-wing FARC guerrillas who have been engaged in peace talks with the government for the last year.

Military sources told Reuters rebel fighters from the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, launched hand-made missiles into a house serving as an army and police base in the municipality of Inza in Cauca province, a region known for a strong guerrilla presence.

Five soldiers, one police officer and two civilians were killed in the attack that reduced several buildings to rubble.

"We condemn and repudiate this cowardly attack in Inza," President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter, adding that he would travel to the area to hold a meeting about security.

Santos initiated peace talks with the FARC in Cuba late last year, a decision that has won cautious support from Colombians desperate for peace after five decades of war while angering those who fear FARC leaders will never face punishment.

Santos announced last month he would run in presidential elections next May, a campaign which will pit him against economist Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who advocates defeating the FARC militarily rather compromising with "terrorists."

The government has vowed to keep pursuing the FARC militarily even as peace talks advance to keep pressure on them, while the FARC in turn continued attacks against government troops.

It has also blown up oil pipelines with increasing frequency in the last few months to protest an industry whose wealth it says does not benefit the population enough.

Colombia's five-decade old guerrilla war, led by the FARC and its smaller counterpart, the National Liberation Army or ELN, has left more than 200,000 dead.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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