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Rebels Mark Samper Inauguration With Attacks

August 8, 1994

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Leftist rebels killed at least six policemen the day President Ernesto Samper was inaugurated, authorities said Monday.

The rebels are trying to pressure Samper, who was sworn in Sunday, to negotiate peace on their terms. Colombia has been fighting insurgents for three decades.

In one attack, about 150 guerrillas stormed Cartagena del Chaira, 235 miles south of Bogota, police said. Four officers were killed and three wounded in the ensuing clash.

Another policeman was killed in a rebel attack on a police station in Toribio, in southern Colombia. Guerrillas also pulled over a passenger bus at a roadblock they set up north of the capital and killed an officer on board.

Rebels blew up a railway near Medellin, derailing a train, but there were no casualties.

In his inaugural speech, Samper said a month-old rebel offensive had reduced the likelihood of peace, although he pledged to explore the possibility of talks.

The Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Coordinator, a coalition of rebel groups, has killed dozens of policemen and soldiers in its latest campaign.

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