President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday personally congratulated security forces involved in Operation Sodom, a joint military offensive in central Colombia that killed “Mono Jojoy,” military commander of the country’s largest guerrilla group the FARC.
Under rigid security measures, Santos traveled to La Macarena, a town in the region of the camp where Mono Jojoy was staying, which was bombed by the Colombian air force.
“Two hundred years ago liberator Simon Bolivar made history. Today, 200 years later, we are celebrating that he freed us from the yoke of Spanish oppression and gave independence to our country. Two hundred years later you are also making history, a comparable history because you are releasing us from the yoke of more than 50 years of violence by terrorist group the FARC,” Santos told members of the police, army, and air force.
“The liberator Simon Bolivar would have been proud of how the operation was executed,” the president added.
According to Santos, he was flown over the camp where Mono Jojoy and at least eight others were killed. The president praised the troops for the success of the “flawless” operation despite “the difficulty of the terrain.”
Santos said that Mono Jojoy “will no longer make so many good Colombians, including the members of his own organization, suffer.”
“I am taking this opportunity to tell the members of that organization that there is a state that is offering a hand. Don’t continue this madness, demobilize. Return to your families. The state will be flawless until the last moment, but at the same time holds out a helping hand because what we want is peace. To those members of the FARC and their families we reiterate that the way is demobilization if they don’t want to end up dead or captured, because each time we will be coming on stronger,” the president said.
The death of Mono Jojoy, presumed second-in-command of the FARC after “Alfonso Cano,” is widely considered a major blow against the Marxist guerrilla organization. The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since 1964, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe, and is condemned by the U.N. and rights organizations for ongoing human rights violations.