Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos says the South American nation’s troops have killed at least 13 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels. The attack on a camp belonging to the rebels was launched in northwest Antioquia department on Tuesday, Santos wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, the death toll is expected to climb because the unit housed up to 20 people.
The assault comes as the Colombian government has been engaged in peace talks with FARC members and representatives in Cuba since November 19 in an attempt to end the military conflict between Bogota and the rebels. An earlier round of talks was held on October 18 in Norway.The rebels announced a two-month ceasefire before the negotiations started, saying "The leadership has ordered that all military operations against government forces come to a halt.” However, Bogota refused to accept the truce. Meanwhile Santos said in previous negotiations the FARC rebels had used the demilitarized zone to regroup and rearm. On December 1, 2012, the Colombian military executed bombing strikes on three camps belonging to FARC rebels and killed at least 20. According to a statement released by the Colombian army, the operation was carried out in Narino Province near the border with Ecuador. On December 2, 2012, Santos set a November 2013 deadline for the peace process between the country and FARC rebels. "This has to be a process of months, rather than years. In other words, this should not last any longer than November next year at the latest," said Santos. The conflict began in 1964 when FARC was established as a communist agrarian faction to protest against the concentration of land ownership and social inequalities in the country. According to UN figures, fighting between the two sides has left thousands of people dead and displaced about four million others. MR/PKH