Operation Traira

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Operation Traira
Part of the Colombian conflict and War on Drugs
FARC areas of operation.jpg
Taraíra River
DateFebruary 1991; 28 years ago (1991-02)
Amazonas state, Taraíra River in Brazilian-Colombian border.

Guerrilla attack on the Brazilian Army border post. Immediate and decisive response from the Brazilian government.

  • Operation in response the Brazilian Armed Forces with support from the Colombian government.
  • Successful Brazilian military operation.



Flag of the FARC-EP.svg FARC

  • Comando Simon Bolivar
Commanders and leaders
President Fernando Collor de Mello
Ministry Gen. Carlos Tinoco Ribeiro Gomes
Gen. Antenor de Santa Cruz Abreu
Colombia President César Gaviria


16 helicopters
6 AT-27 Tucano

Colombia Colombia:
1 infantry battalion
200 guerrillas (40 guerrillas entered Brazilian territory)
Casualties and losses
3 killed
9 wounded
12+ killed
150+ wounded & captured
2 civilians killed

Operation Traíra was the response of the Brazilian Armed Forces, with support from the Colombian Army, to an attack on their detachment on the bank of the Traíra River by FARC in February 1991.[1][2]


The Traíra Detachment had been established in May 1990, 300 miles north of Tabatinga on the Traíra River, which forms part of the border between Brazil and Colombia.[2] Its purpose was to confront the lawless situation in the region caused by the presence of illegal Brazilian and Colombian gold miners. It was under the command of the then 1st Border Command of the 1st Special Border Battalion, Tabatinga. Their mission was to maintain law and order by deporting Colombian miners and stopping Brazilian miners from entering the area.[1]

Guerrilla incursion[edit]

On February 26, 1991, a group of 40 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, who called itself "Simon Bolivar Command", crossed the border from Colombia to Brazil and raided the Traíra detachment of the Brazilian Army, which was in semi-permanent installations and had only 17 troops, less than the attacking guerrilla column. Intelligence operations claim that the attack was motivated by repression by the border detachment of illegal mining in the region, one of FARC's funding sources. During the attack three Brazilian soldiers died and nine were injured. Two illegal Colombian miners who were detained at the camp also died.[1] Various weapons, ammunition and equipment were stolen.

Military response[edit]

Immediately the Brazilian Armed Forces, authorized by President Fernando Collor de Mello and with the knowledge and support of Colombian President César Gaviria, secretly unleashed Operation Traíra, in order to recover the stolen arms and discourage further attacks.

Brazilian Air Force

The Brazilian Air Force supported Operation Traíra with six transport helicopters H-1H, six ground attack aircraft AT-27 Tucano and C-130 Hercules and C-115 Buffalo logistics support aircraft.

Brazilian Navy

The Navy of Brazil supported the Traíra operation with a River Patrol ship, which was based in Vila Bittencourt, cooperating with the logistical support and ensuring the security of the region.

Brazilian Army

The Brazilian Army sent its main elite troops, special forces elements and commandos of the Battalion of Special Forces (current 1st Battalion of Special Forces and the 1st Command Action Battalion), as well as jungle warriors before 1st Special Battalion Border, to attack the guerrilla base that was in Colombian territory, near the border. They were also supported by soldiers of the 1st Infantry Battalion of Selva, the main unit of the Amazon Military Command. The Army Aviation Command was present by providing the means of transport used by the combatants employed in the mission, four maneuvering helicopters Eurocopter AS565 Panther, 2 recognition helicopters and Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil attack.

Colombian Army

The Colombian Army supported the Traíra operation with the battalion Bejarano Muñoz, which is believed to have blocked the escape route of the guerrillas if they tried to escape the Brazilian Army attack.


The balance of operation Traíra was sixty-two guerrillas killed, more than one hundred captured, and most weapons and equipment being recovered. Since then, there were no more raids of the FARC in Brazil, as well as attacks on Brazilian military.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c de Souza Pinheiro, Álvaro; Mendel, William W. (July 1995). "Guerrilla in The Brazilian Amazon". Foreign Military Studies Office. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b Brooke, James (March 7, 1991). "Brazilian Troops Kill 3 Colombian Guerrillas". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2015.