Colombia paid 2.7 million dollars to informant in FARC killing
The conservative Colombian government said late Friday it had paid 2.7 million dollars to an informant for details which led to a cross-border raid into Ecuador and the killing of a top leader of the leftist rebels. ( dpa )
Colombian troops killed Raul Reyes, second in command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and more than 20 others in the early March raid of the rebel camp in Ecuador.
The raid whipped up political and military tensions in the region as Venezuela and Ecuador mobilized troops to their borders with Colombia in protest.
Venezuela wants FARC to be given political legitimacy by the international community as Colombia tries to negotiate the release of more than 700 hostages thought to be held by the rebels.
The 2.7 million dollars was paid to the person who revealed the location of the rebel camp, the Colombian government said in Bogota late Friday.
Reyes had been FARC's chief negotiator with France over the release of Ingrid Betancourt, a dual citizen of Colombia and France and one-time Colombian presidential candidate who has been held by FARC for six years.
On Wednesday, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos indicated that Reyes, who was killed in the bombing raid on March 1, had been betrayed by an informant. He dismissed charges by FARC that the Colombian government had tracked a phone call from the French negotiator to find Reyes.
Earlier Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated he would be willing to pick up Betancourt personally in case of her release.
France, Sweden and Switzerland launched a medical mission to Colombia this week to help the ailing Betancourt, whose medical condition has seriously deteriorated. But FARC has not cooperated in her treatment.
She suffers from hepatitis and other diseases in addition to depression.