A skirmish between police, the air force and the FARC combatants took place Wednesday in the Anaime municipality in the Tolima department. During the action, seven guerrillas were killed and another seven captured.
Those killed in crossfire include the front’s commander, Ciro Gómez Rayo, alias “Enrique,” age 42. He had commanded the unit for close to 15 years, and had fought for the guerrillas for 27 years. His girlfriend, alias “Maryury,” was also killed, along with three members of his security unit.
The 50th Front was most active in Colombia’s central coffee zone, specifically the Quindio and Tolima departments. Authorities say the FARC were planning to launch a series of attacks on local highways, in anticipation of raising the guerrilla organization’s profile for the upcoming presidential elections.
This is a serious blow against the FARC, despite having launched recent serious offensives in Cauca and in Buenaventura. The 50th Front forms part of the FARC’s Central Bloc, which, along with the Ivan Rios and the Middle Magdalena Blocs (active mostly in Antioquia, Choco and neighboring departments) has been particularly hard hit by security forces. The Central Bloc was usually considered a threat to the central government because of its proximity to Bogota, but recently has not had the capacity to carry out serious military operations.