As part of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos‘ renewed military surge against the rebel group, FARC, the country’s security forces announced Thursday that it had taken down five members of the guerrilla group in the central state of Meta.
Colombia’s Omega Joint Task Force received the surrender of five guerrillas from the FARC’s 27th Front on Thursday afternoon in the municipality of La Macarena, Meta state. The 27th Front is part of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc, described by analysis website Insight Crime as the rebel group’s “most powerful bloc in terms of numbers and territory.” Their heartland is in La Macarena.
In addition to apprehending the guerrillas, the government also reportedly seized rifles, explosives and “all kinds of material used to attack civilians,” according to the President.
The mission also claimed the lives of two Colombian soldiers, whom the President acknowledged in his remarks on Thursday evening.
“We must show solidarity after the death of these heroes,” Santos said. “But we must also continue working with this level of force, because that is how we give peace to all Colombians.”
This mission was a part of the 50,000 troop offensive that the President launched earlier this month.
Peace talks between the government and the FARC will have been running in Havana, Cuba, for a year on November 18. No cease fire was called by either side during the dialogues. While an accord has been reached regarding land reform, no agreements have been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict, the rights of the victims, and the implementation of any peace agreement.