Colombia’s Defense Minister said Sunday that armed forces killed at least 22 alleged FARC guerrillas in combat near the border with Ecuador.
Speaking from a military base near the capital Bogota, Minister Rodrigo Rivera said that the operation near the village of San Miguel was carried out by the Air Force, Army and Police.
The number of killed guerrillas differ in several media. Initially, newspaper El Espectador spoke of at least 27 dead guerrillas. Spanish news agency Efe says that at least 22 rebels were confirmed dead.
The offensive is taking place close to where guerrillas on September 10 killed eight eight policemen in an attack on a police station by guerrillas.
According to Rivera, the operation was being coordinated from Bogota, but that he and National Police director Oscar Naranjo were on their way to the Putumayo department to personally take charge of the troops.
Newspaper El Tiempo reported that Ecuadorean Defense Minister Javier Ponce had offered to increase troops on the Ecuadorean side of the border.
The guerrillas active in that region are of the FARC’s 48th front.
Following the August 7 inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos, guerrillas allegedly of both FARC and ELN carried out several deadly attacks on armed forces in the south and east of the country. According to the UN, 56 policemen, soldiers and guerrillas were killed in the first two weeks of September.