The attack on the rebel camps by air force planes and special operations forces on the ground also resulted in the capture of eight members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), five of whom were wounded, General Javier Florez told reporters.
The commander of Task Force Omega – which combines army, navy and air force personnel – said his forces were on Saturday pursuing the ragtag remains of the FARC units that were attacked on Friday.
An Air Force spokesman told AFP the bombing raids targeted “two rebel camps in the Vista Hermosa and Puerto Rico municipalities, capable of housing up to 200 guerrillas.”
He said three leaders of FARC’s Front 43 unit perished in the military attack. Their noms de guerre, he said, were “The Doc,” “The Grandfather” and “Black Albert.”
Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said on Friday that the raid was part of a response to the kidnapping and assassination of governor Luis Francisco Cuellar ten days ago in the southern region of Caqueta.
General Florez said the attacks were the culmination of four months of intelligence work and that in addition to the raids on FARC camps in Meta, “similar ones are being carried out in Caqueta and Guaviare (south-east) departments.”
In a separate incident Friday, a soldier and a 14-year-old girl were killed in a FARC ambush on an army patrol, Silva said, adding that the girl was caught in the crossfire.
The FARC, which is thought to number 6,000 to 10,000 fighters, has been at war with the Colombian government for around 45 years.