The Colombian military “Operation Odysseus” that killed FARC leader “Alfonso Cano” on Friday began months earlier when armed forces attacked FARC camps in the south of the Tolima department where the FARC leader was thought to have been hiding for years.
The air force attacks on the Cañon de Limon and the army incursion of the valley just north of the town of Chaparral forced the FARC leader to move out of the Tolima highlands, first southward and ultimately into the more western Cauca department.
Military sources told weekly Semana that this operation was the beginning of the end of Cano, who had been protected against Army and Air Force by the extreme cold and almost constant fog in the mountain valley.
Following the attack, the military created a militarized corridor from north to south, preventing provisions and reinforcements from the FARC’s Eastern Block to reach Cano’s Central Block, Semana said. This forced Cano to seek reinforcements from the Western Block which had been enforced over the year’s with some of the best guerrilla fighters.
Between the attack on Cano’s hideout and October, guerrilla units from the FARC’s 6th and 13th Front started a series of attacks on towns that were located in between Cano’s old hideout and the location where he later was killed.
Meanwhile, the FARC’s number one was traveling from the town of Corinto, passing Caloto to Suarez while being tailed by the armed forces, newspaper El Tiempo reported.
While traveling westward, Cano reportedly was accompanied by no more than 10 immediate bodyguards.
The final stage of “Operation Odysseus” began approximately a week ago when ground troops around the town of Caldono began fighting guerrilla forces of the 6th Front who had become in charge of the security of their leader.
On Friday morning, the air forces bombed a FARC camp near Suarez. According to the military, Cano was injured in this attack and following an offensive, ground troops were able to capture “El Indio Efrain,” one of Cano’s personal bodyguards, three others and kill Cano’s girlfriend and a guerrilla called “El Zorro.”
While fleeing the scene, Cano was identified by soldiers, pursued and killed.