Colombia’s armed forces on Saturday announced they had killed one of the FARC’s most feared ringleaders in combat in the northwest of the country.
The allegedly killed guerrilla, known as “Roman Ruiz,” was the commander of the FARC’s 18th Front and a member of the guerrilla organization’s Central Command.
¡ATENCIÓN! Acabamos de dar de baja a alias Román Ruíz cabecilla del #Frente18 y miembro del #EstadoMayor #Farc vía @mindefensa
— Ejército de Colombia (@COL_EJERCITO) June 14, 2014
Ruiz, whose real name was Alfredo Alarcon, had a $500,000 reward on his head, announced by President Juan Manuel Santos in January of this year.
The commander of the National Police, General Rodolfo Palomino, called the killing of the ringleader a “big blow” for the rebel organization that is currently negotiating an end of the 50-year-old armed conflict with the government.
The 18th front is an important fighters unit that is active in the north of the Antioquia state and south of the Cordoba state. It is one of the fronts working most closely with fellow rebel group ELN with who the FARC reached a deal to jointly fight the building of a hydroelectric dam in the municipality of Ituango.
The president congratulated the armed forces after the success.
Felicitaciones a nuestras Fuerzas Armadas por la baja de alias Román Ruiz cabecilla miembro del estado mayor de FARC. La ofensiva persiste!
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) June 14, 2014
The killing of the FARC commander comes during a unilateral ceasefire called by the FARC to facilitate elections that are held on Sunday. The Colombian authorities have refused to make the ceasefire bilateral amid fears the rebel group will use a lack of army pressure for its military advantage.