As his forces are spread thin to repel the army, FARC supreme leader “Alfonso Cano” has been left without significant security forces, El Tiempo reported based on intelligence sources Wednesday.
The paper claimed that Cano may have as few as a dozen bodyguards as he is pursued by more than a thousand government forces between the Caños de las Hermosas and the river Ata. The paper further speculated that Cano is likely separated from other FARC forces in the area.
Commander of the armed forces Admiral Edgar Cely was somewhat less optimistic about the operation and stressed that the effort to push the FARC out of their stronghold in Tolima would be a long-term operation.
“This is a long-haul operation,” said Cely, “[it will take] many months to establish a containment fence. The goal is to surround this vast area and put pressure on the guerillas so that they cannot avoid it.”
The government believes that it is hot on the trail of Cano, and has stated that it expects to capture him within a matter of weeks.
Cely expressed the difficulty of fighting the FARC in their mountainous home terrain. “This is a confrontation against an enemy that has spent a long time in the mountains, who blends in well with the mountains, who lives there and seems to know if we launch an attack or patrol.”
The operation against Cano is currently being conducted in Tolima in the municipality of Chaparral, a rugged, mountainous terrain that has long been home to FARC guerrillas.