Colombia's military retakes hilltop

AP News
Posted: Jul 18, 2012 3:41 PM
Colombia's military retakes hilltop

TORIBIO, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities say they've retaken a strategic hill in the country's turbulent southwest from Nasa Indians who had forcibly dislodged soldiers.

The action early Wednesday by a squad of riot police came a day after Indians armed with clubs and rocks dragged six soldiers off the hilltop.

Members of the 115,000-strong Nasa tribe are insisting the military and leftist rebels leave their traditional lands. They say they are tired of being caught in the crossfire of Colombia's long-running conflict.

The government rejects the demand, and President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted Wednesday that Indians will not be allowed on military bases. His defense minister and military allege rebels have infiltrated the Indians' ranks.

The region is a corridor for cocaine smuggling and locals also cultivate high-grade marijuana.