FARC buy Russian missiles: Peru

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Peruvian prosecutors allege that the FARC bought at least seven Russian anti-aircraft missiles that could be used against helicopters essential to the Colombian government’s fight against the guerrilla group, El Nuevo Heraldo reported Monday.

Prosecutors in Peru allege that corrupt Peruvian officials sold at least four Russian-made missiles to the FARC between May and October 2008, and another three in 2009, at a cost of $45,000 per unit.

The weapons were allegedly sold by air force official Jorge Aurelio Cerpa to Freddy Torres, an Ecuadorean accused of buying arms for the FARC since 2007. Both men were arrested, along with nine others, and charged with collaborating with terrorists.

Torres also allegedly bought hundred of hand grenades worth $60 each, 40-50 heavy machine guns at $19,000 a pop, as well as tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to Peruvian newspaper La Republica.

Torres was allegedly buying $150,000 to $200,000 worth of arms every fifteen to 20 days.

Colombian military analyst Alfredo Rangel told El Nuevo Heraldo that the missiles “could be used to shoot down a couple of helicopters,” but “their impact would not be very significant.”

Based on emails intercepted by Colombian military intelligence, FARC leader “Alfonso Cano” is believed to be seeking to build up the guerrilla group’s stockpile of weaponry.