A FARC rebel mans a checkpoint near the town of Toribio, in the Colombian department of Cauca. (file photo)
Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) have killed 13 soldiers in an attack on an army patrol along the country’s northeastern border with Venezuela.
“We regret to inform you that as the result of a FARC terrorist attack, two sergeants and 11 soldiers were killed,” the Colombian Army leadership said in a statement on Saturday.
The attack was carried out in a rural area in the Arauca department town of Tame. The army did not provide detailed on the circumstances of the attack, but military sources quoted by the media said it was an ambush.
The incident came shortly after officials announced talks with the leftist rebels would resume on Monday.
On Friday, Santos recalled his team in Havana after the FARC declared a temporary freeze on the talks that kicked off in the Cuban capital in November 2012.
Former Colombian vice president Humberto de la Calle, the country’s top negotiator, has said the FARC would return to the talks on Monday to "continue the discussions normally.”
The guerrillas have called for a bilateral ceasefire during the talks. But President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected the proposal, saying the rebels could use the truce to beef up their military power.
FARC has been fighting the Colombian government since 1964 and is said to have around 8,000 fighters operating across a large swathe of the eastern jungles of the Andean nation.
In July, a government commission estimated that 220,000 people have lost their lives in the near 50-year-old conflict. Other estimates put the death toll as high as 600,000.