According to the newspaper’s military sources, recent FARC attacks in the north of the country signal the growing effectiveness of security forces in efforts to track him down.
The escalation of attacks is thought to be a tactic to divert Colombian units away from Timochenko’s location, reminiscent of attacks seen in the central Cauca region prior to the killing of previous leader “Alfonso Cano” in November 2011.
Timochenko is thought to be operating in the north-eastern Catatumbo region, close to the Venezuelan border.
The Colombian army has increased the number of troops in that region and according to W Radio, special forces are seeking to close off the border to prevent FARC guerrillas and their leader from crossing the jungle border.
The optimism of the military comes at a time of uncompromising rhetoric from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, quoted Wednesday in El Espectador saying, “The military pressure on illegal armed groups will continue and will increase.”
The reports will be backed by Santos’ predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, who Tuesday slammed reports of a potential ceasefire and called on the government to “eliminate the [FARC’s] refuge in Venezuela.”
Uribe’s 2002-2010 presidency marked a massive, U.S.-backed military escalation in government policy towards guerrillas which pushed rebel groups such as the FARC and ELN away from Colombia’s main cities and economic hubs into the periphery of the country. Following their territorial losses, the FARC adopted old-school guerrilla tactics and frequently carry out hit-and-run attacks on state forces, infrastructure and in some cases, villages.