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Leftist Guerrillas Kill At Least 24 Soldiers

July 15, 1994

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Leftist guerrillas attacked a military base near the border with Ecuador on Friday, killing at least 24 soldiers.

Police reported numerous casualties on both sides. At least 16 soldiers were missing and five were wounded, Radio Caracol said.

Seven guerrillas were killed, the Defense Ministry said.

The attack was carried out by about 200 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, authorities said.

The soldiers were guarding oil installations in Orito, about 370 miles south of Bogota.

Authorities seized a cache of explosives belonging to the guerrillas last week, and Friday’s attack was apparently in reprisal, Orito’s mayor, Heli Ramirez, told Radio Caracol.

Leftist rebels have been waging war against the government for three decades. They have attacked oil facilities hundreds of times in an attempt to hobble the economy.

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