At least nine guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, died in a Colombian air force bombardment of one of the insurgent group's camps in the northeastern province of Arauca, media reports and military spokesman said Sunday.
The guerrillas belonged to the Alfonso Castellanos unit of the FARC's 10th Front and among the dead appears to be the commander of the guerrilla unit, Omar Guevara Rivera, who was the target of the operation.
The strike was launched at 11:45 p.m. Saturday in the town of Tame, military spokesman told Efe, but they did not provide further information since combat is continuing in the area between the leftist rebels and army troops.
Media outlets with a presence in the region are reporting nine rebels were killed, one soldier was wounded and three helicopters were hit by long-range gunfire.
Fifteen soldiers died on July 20 in a FARC ambush between Tame and the town of Fortul, and on Aug. 24 a joint attack launched by the FARC and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, left 14 army troops dead in Tame.
Officials blamed Guevara Rivera and his unit for the last attack.
The air force delivered a blow to the ELN in its main bastion on Nov. 24 by bombing a guerrilla camp, which was also in the rural part of Tame, killing about 10 rebels.
This is the first big reversal suffered by the FARC after last Wednesday they declared their unilateral one-month-long cease fire implemented over the Christmas season to be at an end.
The FARC - which has been engaging in guerrilla activities for half a century - and the Colombian government have been negotiating a peace agreement in Havana since November 2012, a dialogue that is progressing without a bilateral cease fire and amid ongoing combat, attacks and bombardments in the South American country. EFE