Jesús Antonio Plata Ríos, alias “Zeplin,” was killed Friday by soldiers of the 3rd Division in the southwstern Nariño department, on the border with Ecuador.
“Thanks to the joint work of the air force and the army the head of FARC’s western front, Zeplin, was neutralized,” Santos wrote on Twitter.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) August 10, 2013
Zeplin’s death came the same day as the conclusion of the 12th round of peace talks between the Colombia’s government and the country’s main rebel group FARC. Military operations have continued during the peace talks to end the 50-year conflict, the president fearing that a ceasefire would give military advantage to the rebels.
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón described the killing of Zeplin as “yet another blow that shows the capability of our national army in the fight against the FARC.”
According to Pinzón, Zeplin led the FARC’s Antonio Nariño Front and was also in charge of the grassroots support networks in the west of Colombia. He was wanted by the authorities for conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and first degree murder.
Zeplin was an expert in Marxist-Leninist doctrine and belonged to the guerrilla group M-19 before serving for more than 20 years in the FARC, military sources said.
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