Colombia’s army assassinated guerrilla leader “Jesus Santrich” during an incursion into Venezuela in May 2021, military officials told local media.
Former President Ivan Duque told local media that Santrich was killed by “drug traffickers.”
Army officials and the guerrilla who tipped off the military told news websites La Nueva Prensa and Cambio that an intelligence official of the National Army assassinated the former FARC commander in a cross-border raid.
La Nueva Prensa additionally showed images from military intelligence reports that indicated the precise location of the guerrilla camp where Santrich used to stay.
Six anonymous army commanders told Cambio that assassinations abroad can only be carried out with the approval of the commander of the armed forces and the president.
The guerrilla who tipped off the military told Cambio he was never paid the $10 million reward promised by the US Government and fled the country out of fear the former military commanders wanted him dead.
The intelligence official who allegedly assassinated Santrich, colonel Mario Sarmiento, cut off one of the former FARC commander’s fingers to provide the Americans with evidence that would allow him to receive the reward.
Whether the reward was paid is uncertain as the finger allegedly got lost, according to Cambio.
Sarmiento did spend the past months on leave in the United States, the news website reported.
Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez retired all military officials reportedly involved in the assassination as part of a purge that followed him taking office in August last year.
Santrich fled to Venezuela and rearmed in 2019 after a failed attempt by DEA agents and top prosecution officials to extradite the former FARC commander to the US on fabricated drug trafficking charges.