Rebel group FARC reportedly killed 10 soldiers in the southwest of Colombia on Wednesday. Local media said the deadly combat followed a rebel attack, which would be a violent breach of a unilateral ceasefire called by the guerrillas in December.
The combat took place around midnight in Buenos Aires, a municipality in the troubled southwestern Cauca state and only a few miles south of Colombia’s third largest city, Cali.
According to Caracol Radio, the soldiers were ambushed by FARC rebels belonging to the Miller Perdomo fighters unit who killed 10 and injured at least six.
Three of the injured would be in critical condition.
Newspaper El Tiempo said as many as 17 soldiers could have been injured in the fighting.
At the time of publication, the Colombian military had not confirmed the killings, and evacuations of the injured were ongoing and complicated due to climate conditions.
If the deadly combat was the result of a rebel attack, this would be a clear violation of the ceasefire the FARC called in December in an attempt to de-escalate violence for the duration of peace talks that have been ongoing since November 2012.
Colombia’s conservative opposition has long criticized the ceasefire and the army’s reciprocate suspension of air strikes, claiming the guerrillas have continued criminal activity like drug trafficking and extortion.
The FARC has been at war with the Colombian state since its foundation in 1964.
The group commenced formal peace talks with the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2012 to seek a negotiated end to the conflict.
Both warring parties agreed in November last year to be seeking a de-escalation of conflict to prevent violence from disrupting the talks.