General Freddy Padilla, commander of the Colombian armed forces, said he cannot confirm reports that the FARC’s supreme commander Guillermo Saez Leon Vargas, alias “Alfonso Cano,” was killed in a recent military bombardment.
Responding to media reports that Leon was killed at a FARC camp in Canon de Hermosas, western Colombia, Padilla released a statement saying that there was no certainty as to the whereabouts of the guerrilla leader.
“It is true that the armed forces of Colombia have been engaged in intensive and ongoing military operations throughout the national territory against the leaders and structures of various terrorist and criminal organizations,” said the statement.
“In the particular case of the terrorist, alias ‘Alfonso Cano’ there has so far been no information concerning his fate.”
CM& reports that assaults have been made against Alfonso Cano, including one recently which had to be aborted when soldiers were detected by guard dogs at the guerilla camp. Planes bombed the area but could not confirm whether the leader was killed.
In April Colombia’s armed forces assigned 4,000 troops to the task of finding and arresting Alfonso Cano, who is believed to be located in the mountainous region where the bombardment took place. The guerrilla assumed command of the FARC in May 2008 after the death, from natural causes, of Manuel Marulanda Velez, alias “Tirofijo” (“Sureshot”).