EL UNIVERSAL, EL TIEMPO, EL COLOMBIANO (Colombia), EUROPA PRESS (Spain)
RICAURTE- In the deadliest exchange since peace talks began in October, the Colombian army reports that it has killed 20 FARC rebels, including Guillermo Pequeño, leader of the mobile unit of the group, Colombian daily El Universal was reporting Monday.
Commander of the Colombian Army's third division Jorge Segura confirmed the death toll after a bombing around midnight Sunday, with help from the Air Force, in the southwestern region of Nariño, close to the Ecuadorian border. The attack also killed the third-ranking leader of the Mariscal Sucre column, who went by the alias of ‘Mario’ reports Bogota's El Tiempo.
According to Europa Press, the successful operation resulted in the seizure of materials from the guerilla camp: “everything a terrorist infrastructure needs.” Segura says that so far this year, 80 guerillas have been killed, captured or demobilized in the Nariño region.
This strike comes amidst the admonition during ongoing peace talks in Cuba that the group have, in fact, prisoners of war captive. El Colombiano reports that "Sandra Ramirez", representative for the group, stated during the talks: "yes, we have prisoners of war and we will hand them over but the State must return ours to us from the prisons." This statement contradicts repeated denials by the group of having kidnapped anyone.
Following months of attacks on police and the military, this attack has been deemed a big blow to the group. Last week, more rebels were killed in Caldono in the Cauca region by the Colombian Armed Forces, injuring a leader of a mobile column and capturing other militants informs El Universal.