Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva confirmed on Wednesday that FARC leader “Edgar Tovar” was killed in January.
Silva’s statement comes after the armed forces claimed earlier that day that the prominent rebel was killed on January 20 in a joint operation between police and the air force in the southern Colombian department of Putumayo, bordering Ecuador.
The defense minister went on to say that the death is a serious blow for the FARC, and is a sign that they should “demobilize and give up the fight,” reports Caracol Radio.
Silva explained that following the operation, the authorities were able to collect valuable intelligence on the insurgent group. “The operation also provided intelligence and information that now enables us to unravel all of the allies and associates of Tovar in the chain of drug and arms trafficking.”
A phone call intercepted by authorities from one of the leaders of the 48th FARC front, alias “Wilson”, to 63rd FARC front leader “Orlando Porcelana”, further confirmed the death.
Initially it was thought that the Edgar Tovar, leader of the FARC’s 48th front, had been able to escape the attack on his camp and had fled to Ecuador.
Edgar Tovar, whose real name is either Gentil Gomez Marin or Angel Gabriel Losada Garcia, was security chief for FARC leader “Raul Reyes,” who was killed by a Colombian attack on his camp in Ecuador in March 2008.
Defense Minister Gabriel Silva warned other FARC commanders, specifically “Mono Jojoy” that they will be killed unless they surrender.