BOGOTA – At least eight leftist FARC guerrillas were killed early Thursday in an airstrike on a camp in the northwestern province of Antioquia, the Colombian government said.
The fatalities included the commander of the FARC’s 37th Front and the nephew of a member of the rebel group’s leadership, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told reporters in Bogota.
“Intense and detailed” intelligence work enabled the joint attack by the army, marines and air force on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, encampment in the hamlet of Puerto Claver, the minister said.
The 37th Front relied on illegal mining to finance its military campaign aimed at retaking the strategic Montes de Maria mountains, Pinzon said.
Besides the eight rebels killed, five other insurgents were captured after the firefight that followed the initial airstrike.
Colombian authorities say the front commander killed Thursday was part of the FARC unit that kidnapped former Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo, who escaped from his captors in December 2006 in the same area of Antioquia.
The FARC has lost 21 commanders in the last year, the Defense Ministry said.
Representatives of the Colombian government and the FARC are to meet Oct. 8 in Oslo for the formal inauguration of a peace process intended to end nearly five decades of conflict. EFE