Colombia says rebel commander killed in airstrike

Colombia says rebel commander killed in airstrike

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said a key guerrilla commander was among six rebels killed by a military airstrike in a southern jungle, dpa reported.

Troops found various personal objects belonging to Fabian Ramirez, the pseudonym of Jose Benito Cabrera, said to be a member of the high command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The operation occurred in San Vicente del Caguan, of Caqueta province, in the zone where a peace initiative was attempted during the government of president Andres Pastrana in 1998-2002. Cabrera, then commander of the Southern Bloc, was a delegate to the talks.

"He apparently died, but that is not yet confirmed," Santos said. "We have found his pistols. Those FARC commanders always use pistols, and he carried two, which we found ... If his death is confirmed, it will be a serious blow against the FARC."

The US government considers Cabrera to be one of the FARC leaders involved in cocaine trafficking, and has offered a 2.5-million-dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

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