A military operation carried out over the weekend left 12 alleged guerrillas dead in northwest Colombia, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense.
The attack, carried out with the help of the National Police in the northwest of the central state of Antioquia, was directed against the senior leader of the Northwest Bloc of the FARC rebel group, the country’s largest.
Alias “Pastor Alape” reportedly escaped with his life, but the military was able to retrieve weapons, explosives, computer and mobile communication equipment, and digital memory cards containing “information of high interest to military intelligence,” according to the statement.
At least 12 alleged guerrillas were reportedly killed during the offensive, a collaboration between the Air Force, Army, and Navy, and part of the military’s ongoing Sword of Honor Offensive, which targets high-level FARC commanders.
Over the last four years under the operation Sword of Honor, 53 FARC leaders have been killed by the Armed Forces, according to the Ministry of Defense. Initiated in 2012, the operation’s stated goals are to eliminate the heads of 15 of the FARC’s most powerful fronts, according to the military’s official website.
In the absence of any bilateral ceasefire condition to ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, the military has continued its offensive against the rebels.
“We will continue forward with military operations across national territory in order to guarantee the security of all Colombians and to strengthen the rule of law,” read the Ministry of Defense statement.