12 July 2011
Index: AMR 23/023/2011
Indiscriminate attacks which lead to civilian casualties are a serious violation of international humanitarian law and could constitute war crimes, Amnesty international said following the detonation of an explosive device in the urban centre of Toribío Municipality, Cauca Department, on 9 July, which has been attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.
The explosion took place during an armed attack by the FARC against the security forces in the municipality, in the south-west of the country.
The detonation of the explosive device, which had been placed on a bus in what is a predominantly Indigenous part of the country, is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least one civilian and a police officer. The explosion also injured at least 70 civilians who are Indigenous community members, as well as at least two police officers.
The shockwave from the blast damaged buildings as far away as 400 metres from its epicentre. The explosion was attributed to the FARC in a communiqué issued by regional Indigenous organizations.
At least a further three civilians were killed during the hostilities between the FARC and the security forces in Toribío, two of them as a result of explosives thrown by the FARC.
The attack on Toribío was one of several the FARC carried out on 9 July in the nearby municipalities of Caldono, Jambaló, Siberia and Santander del Quilichao.
Amnesty International condemned the bombing in Toribío and other indiscriminate attacks, and called on the Colombian authorities to immediately carry out an impartial and exhaustive investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice and on the FARC to take immediate action to uphold international humanitarian law, including action to put an end to indiscriminate attacks.