Colombian police examine Farc rebels’ laptops

25 September

Laptops and weapons found at the Farc camp Authorities say the laptops are a “mine of information”

Experts in Colombia are trying to crack the codes to 15 computers and almost 100 memory sticks belonging to Colombia’s largest rebel group.

They were seized on Thursday after a massive raid on a Farc jungle camp.

One of the laptops is believed to have belonged to its military leader, Mono Jojoy, who was killed in the attack.

Police are hoping to find information which could reveal the whereabouts of 20 members of the security forces held captive by the Farc.

The computers are being examined by 40 experts from the police criminal investigation unit in the capital, Bogota.

Police officials said the 15 laptops, 94 memory sticks and 14 hard discs contained 11 times more information than that seized from Raul Reyes, a senior Farc leader killed in a raid in 2008.

They believe one of the 15 laptops seized was Mono Jojoy’s personal computer. Its screen was reportedly shattered by bullets, but its hard disc was still intact.

They also said the large number of memory sticks seized at the jungle camp and the fact that not a single two-way radio or mobile phone was found suggests the rebels relay information through couriers rather than risk having their electronic communication tapped or traced.

The investigators said they hoped to retrieve clues to the location of Farc camps which would help them mount future attacks and allow them to free the group’s remaining hostages, which official numbers put at 79.

But the head of the Colombian police, General Oscar Naranjo, warned it could take months to retrieve all the information from the computers.
Fighting continues

Military officials also revealed more information about the operation in which the Farc’s number two, Mono Jojoy, was killed.

They said Operation Sodom, as it has been dubbed, started on Tuesday 21 September, when the heads of all three branches of the Colombian military, the police and the Ministry of Defence met in Bogota to finalise details of the attack.

In the early hours of Wednesday 22 September, 78 aircraft headed for the area known as La Escalera in the Macarena mountain range in Meta province.

They dropped dozens of bombs on Mono Jojoy’s camp, which Defence Minister Rodrigo Rivera has described as “the mother of all lairs” for its size and the number of hidden tunnels it had.

About 400 members of the Colombian special forces then abseiled from helicopters and surrounded the camp.

After hours of fighting, another 400 soldiers and police moved in on the camp, taking it in the early hours of Thursday morning.

General Javier Florez, the commander of the joint task force leading the attack, said his men were able to identify Mono Jojoy by his scars, eye colour and the fact he carried insulin for his diabetes. His identity was verified by experts on Friday.

Police sources told the BBC they suspected a number of other senior Farc leaders were killed alongside Mono Jojoy, including the men known as Mad Ivan, Mauricio the Medic and Romana, although their bodies have not yet been identified.

The Colombian military said a total of between 20 and 30 guerrillas died in the initial attack. Thirteen members of the security forces were injured, most of them when they abseiled into the jungle.

Fighting continues in the area around Mono Jojoy’s camp, which commanding officer Gen Miguel Perez described as “a rugged area of very difficult access”.

About 10,000 extra police officers have been deployed to Colombia’s main cities to prevent retaliatory attacks by the Farc.

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