The two top commanders of one of the FARC‘s most prestigious elite units have been killed in an airstrike in the southwest of Colombia, authorities said Monday.
The 6th front, one of the most active and well-trained units of the guerrilla organization, operates in southwest of Colombia, affecting areas in and around the Cauca department.
Media reported that the two men were killed in a targeted strike after attention was drawn to the 6th front’s operations in the region. Military attention was specifically focused on the commanders after they “organized and conducted a campaign of violence” towards the region’s indigenous population.
El Burro, whose real name is Miguel Angel Cardona, was the chief commander of the 6th front and a native of Florida – he had been a FARC member for approximately 28 years.
“Jamito” was the front’s military organizer and alleged to be in charge of the groups finances. These two deaths are further setbacks for the FARC after the death of “Caliche” last May and “Zeplin” more recently.
Authorities described the attack as being a “massive blow” to the FARC’s 6th front. The strike was carried out by the Colombian air force in the form of a bombing raid. The targeted FARC camp was located near the village of Santo Domingo, in the Toribio municipality of the Cauca department.
After the strike, military personnel moved in to collect and identify the bodies.
The two men were linked to Edgar Lopez, aka Pacho Chino, to whom police attribute the escalation of violence and terrorism in the region.
As the joint commander of the western bloc, he has been active in the Cauca region for what police and military commanders suspect to be almost thirty years. Last year the award for his successful capture was raised from $1.1 million to $1.4 million after he ordered a propaganda campaign in the region.
In a press release on Saturday, President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated that the Colombian government would continue to pursue peace with the FARC but that the military would continue to fight the war until peace had been properly achieved.
- Mueren dos importantes jefes de las FARC en el suroeste de Colombia (Google News)
- Mueren el jefe y el ‘número dos’ del Sexto Frente de las FARC (Europa Press)
- ‘Jaimito’ y ‘El Burro’, jefes del Sexto Frente de las Farc, murieron (El Pais)
- No bajaremos la guardia en ningún sentido. Esa es la forma en que llegaremos a la paz: Presidente Santos (President’s website)