COLOMBIA: Battle of the Air Base

Colombia's three-year-old civil war is still dragging on. Ruling by decree, the Conservative government keeps a strong grip on the cities, but in the countryside, hardy Liberal partisans ("bandits" in the official communiques) wage constant guerrilla war against government outposts. Last week, in one of their boldest strikes yet, "bandidos" made a 3 a.m. New Year's Day raid on the important Palanquero air force base, 75 miles northwest of the capital.

Apparently the raiders expected the base to be off guard as a result of New Year's Eve merrymaking and hoped to make a quick haul of arms and ammunition....

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