Colombian police find over 2,000 landmines belonging to rebels

Bogota, May 6 (EFE).- A total of 2,345 landmines belonging to the FARC guerrilla group were found in the southern province of Caqueta, the Colombian National Police said.

The landmines were discovered in San Pablo de Anaya, located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the city of El Paujil.

Officers located the landmines using information provided by "sources" who gave them "the exact coordinates" of the site, the National Police said in a statement.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group apparently used the landmines on secondary and tertiary routes in and out of the cities of El Paujil, Doncello and MontaƱita, all located in Caqueta, the National Police said.

Explosives experts destroyed the landmines in controlled detonations.

Landmines are planted by the FARC, Colombia's oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, in an effort to slow down the security forces and allow rebel fighters to escape sweeps launched by soldiers and police, officials say.

The weapons have been planted in 31 of Colombia's 32 provinces, the United Nations says.

Up to 100,000 of the weapons are estimated to have been planted around the Andean nation, the great majority of them by leftist rebels seeking to inflict casualties on soldiers and protect coca plantations that supply their extensive drug trafficking operations.

Almost all of the weapons are "non-industrial" homemade mines manufactured in guerrilla camps at low cost.

Landmines claimed 97 victims, including 17 children, in January and February of this year, the presidential program against landmines, or Paicma, said.

A total of 10,272 people were killed or wounded by landmines in Colombia between 1990 and March 31, Paicma figures show.