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Death Toll Hits 18 in Colombia

August 1, 2000

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Authorities said Tuesday they found the bodies of four more slain policemen, bringing to 18 the death toll from a weekend rebel attack that left the village of Arboleda in ruins.

Colombian troops were still looking for three more police officers from Arboleda, located 90 miles northwest of the capital, Bogota. The three are feared dead, national police Col. Norberto Pelaez told reporters Tuesday morning.

Much of the picturesque mountain town was demolished when rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia detonated explosives in front of a church, a bank, a clinic and other buildings. Fourteen police officers and four civilians are known dead.

The attack began Saturday, when an estimated 400 rebels descended on Arboleda. The local police contingent fought them off for two days. Ten police officers survived the attack and have been accounted for.

Colombian troops and police who reinforced the besieged garrison Sunday evening continued searching through the rubble and the hills outside town for the missing police.

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