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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Colombian president declares emergency
Damage from blasts
FARC rebels used mortars in the attack on Bogota
Colombia's new President, Alvaro Uribe, has declared a national state of emergency in response to five days of violence following his inauguration.

Mr Uribe invoked a provision in the Colombian constitution, allowing him to suspend civil liberties in the event of a threat to the security of the state.

The decision - taken at an emergency cabinet meeting late on Sunday - follows a spate of violence which began on Wednesday and has claimed more than 100 lives.

Twenty people were killed and more than 60 wounded in the initial attacks, in which a military academy and the presidential palace itself were targeted.

No details were given about the measures, which became effective immediately.

Military tax

According to the constitution, the emergency can be imposed for as long as 90 days, after which the president can extend it for the same period twice if necessary.

Mr Uribe also decreed an emergency tax allowing the government to raise $778.5m for military spending.

Wednesday's attacks have been blamed on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's main left-wing guerrilla group, which is at war with the government and right-wing paramilitaries.

The right and left-wing factions have been fighting for control of revenue from drug crops and gold mines in the northern state of Bolivar.

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The BBC's David Chazan
"Five days in office and President Alvaro Uribe faces crisis"

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08 Aug 02 | Americas
08 Aug 02 | Americas
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