Seven FARC rebels deserted the guerrilla group in a region on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border and surrendered to military troops while handing over more than 1.25 tons of explosives and other war materiel, the army's ANE news agency reported Monday.

The insurgents "escaped from their terrorist cells and turned themselves in voluntarily to troops of the national army" in the town of Puerto Asis, ANE said in a statement released in Bogota.

The rebels surrendered to units of a motorized brigade carrying out operations in a rural area outside Puerto Asis, which is in Putumayo province.

The rebels were carrying 1.25 tons of explosives, 800 meters of fuse, two mortar rounds and "other materiel," ANE said.

The guerrillas belonged to the 48th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the unit of that movement that operates all along the country's borders with Ecuador and Peru.

The insurgents said they decided to disband because they were convinced by army messages inviting them to lay down their arms and because of the military operations they were facing in the area, ANE said.