The Colombian military on Monday raised the death toll in its weekend airstrike on a FARC guerrilla camp in the northeastern province of Arauca from 11 to 14.
As the work to recover bodies at the site proceeds, authorities confirmed that 14 people had been killed, the armed forces chief, Gen. Leonardo Barrera, told a press conference in the town of Tame.
There was also at least one guerrilla wounded in the strike and one turned himself in to the army troops in the area.
Authorities also said that a military helicopter was hit by small arms fire from members of the Alfonso Castellanos Mobile Column of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The guerrillas were surprised by the authorities in a rural part of Tame as they were preparing "an indiscriminate attack with homemade artillery weapons on the town of Puerto Rondon," Barrera said.
The camp was found thanks to intelligence work and tips from the public, he said.
The target of the airstrike was the leader of the FARC column, known by the alias "Franklin," whose whereabouts are being investigated. It could result that he was wounded in the attack or possibly fled into neighboring Venezuela.
Colombian authorities attribute to Franklin and his rebel unit a number of attacks "against the civilian population, the economic infrastructure of Arauca and the Public Force," including the ambush last August that resulted in the deaths of 14 soldiers.
According to the military high command, in the first 20 days of 2014 at least 18 guerrillas have been killed and 40 captured.
This is the first big reversal suffered by the FARC since last Wednesday they ended their unilateral one-month Christmas cease fire.
The FARC and the government have been engaged in peace negotiations in Havana since November 2012 with an eye toward ending the rebels' half-century-old insurrection, and the dialogue is continuing despite ongoing armed clashes, attacks and bombardments. EFE