Colombia has dismissed the report that the country’s rebel guerrilla
group chief is dying of serious illness in southern forests, EFE
US newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported Friday that Jorge Briceno
Suarez, the military head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC), is waiting his death in a clandestine camp in the Colombian
jungles due to lack of treatment for chronic diabetes.
“Everything is true except that he (Suarez) is dying; we in
intelligence don’t have information about that,” Colombian Defence
Minister Juan Manuel Santos said, confirming that the rebel leader is
“We know that he’s ill, finished, surrounded and harassed because
the military pressure on him is relentless, but we don’t have
information that he’s dying,” Santos said.
The paper quoted judiciary sources confirming that Suarez “is dying
(and) cut off at his camp in the jungles of southern Colombia.”
According to the sources, the guerrilla leader has been in a grave
state of health for two years and his condition has recently
deteriorated to the point that it is now “terminal”.
“He’s nothing but bones … he doesn’t have food or medicine and his
people have to carry him when they have to move him to another camp,”
the sources told the daily.
According to the daily, the FARC leader is protected by two security
cordons made up exclusively of veteran combatants who enjoy his fullest
confidence and “a lot of women”.
The FARC is the largest rebel guerrilla group in Colombia operating in a large swathe of the southeastern Colombia.
However, experts believe the efforts of US-backed President Alvaro
Uribe have left the FARC, which has fought a decades-old revolution
against a succession of Colombian governments, reeling and more
isolated than ever in remote jungle regions.
The organisation’s top leader and founder Manuel ‘Sureshot’
Marulanda died of an apparent heart attack last March and just weeks
after another top member, Raul Reyes, was killed in a cross-border
military air strike in Ecuador.