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Colombia Begins Removing Coca from National Park

Colombia is launching an operation aimed at eradicating illegal drug production from its largest nature park.

Colombian police announced Wednesday they are starting to uproot coca plants in the Macarena National Park in Meta department, where rebel groups are known to produce cocaine to help fund their fight against the government.

Some 900 workers are clearing some 4,600 hectares of coca plants by hand over the next several months, under heavy security to guard against rebel attacks.

The Associated Press reports the workers will also destroy clandestine roads and bridges used by the rebels to transport their drugs through the area.

The United States helps fund a crop-dusting program in Colombia to destroy coca plants on private land, but stays away from park areas to preserve the vegetation.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.