Colombia’s Armed Forces have claimed that a widely sought FARC ringleader was killed on Monday in an airstrike carried out by security forces.
Leonel Vargas Quintero, alias “Alex” or “El Flaco,” was confirmed dead following the attack. El Flaco was the leader of the Heroes de Marquetalia front, one of the most prominent units of the FARC, Colombia’s oldest rebel group, and was believed to be responsible for various attacks against national forces.
According to a statement released by the Armed Forces’ General Command, El Flaco was killed during a joint military and police force airstrike in the south of the central state of Tolima, along with 12 other guerrilla fighters.
Among the casualties were members of the Heroes de Marquetalia and Alfredo Gonzales fronts, both of which belong to the FARC Central Command (COSE).
The Armed Forces report that the insurgents had recently received orders to carry out a heavy-impact attack.
General Rodolfo Palomino told W Radio on Wednesday that the operation had “prevented this section of the FARC from carrying out further damage, especially in Tolima.”
The objective of COSE had historically been the protection of Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, alias “Alfonso Cano,” Commander-in-Chief of the FARC until his death in 2011. Consequently, COSE turned to extortion activities in the Colombia’s central-western region.
The bodies of the casualties will be removed and transferred on Wednesday, according to the military’s statement.
- Muere cabecilla de la Columna Móvil “Héroes de Marquetalia” de las Farc (Official Press Release, Comando General –Fuerzas Militares de Colombia)
- Confirman muerte de alias El Flaco, segundo cabecilla de compañía “Héroes de Marquetalia” (W Radio)
- Confirman muerte de cabecilla de las Farc en bombardeo en el Tolima (Caracol Radio)