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Army troops kill 14 rebels in latest anti-FARC offensive

Colombian troops attacked a FARC camp near the border with Ecuador on Monday, killing 14 rebels in the latest in a series of offensives against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia since President Juan Manuel Santos took office in August.

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AFP - Colombian air and ground forces attacked a guerrilla encampment near the border with Ecuador, killing 14 rebels in the latest of a series of punishing military operations, military officials said.

Colombian air forces first bombed the camp, then followed with an assault by elite helicopter-borne infantry, the officials said.

General Jairo Antonio Herazo, head of the Pacific Joint Command, told a news conference Monday that ground troops recovered the bodies of 14 guerrillas in the operation near the town of Ipiales in southeastern Narino province.

He said two minors, one of whom was an Ecuadoran, were wounded in the attack and given medical treatment.

Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said the attack was a significant blow to a rebel unit that has raised the most money for the FARC through drug trafficking, and also runs a clandestine radio station.

It was the latest in a series of high profile military offensives against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since President Juan Manuel Santos took office in August.

Eighteen guerrillas were reported killed in an attack September 19 near the border town of San Miguel.

And on September 22, the FARC's top military commander, Jorge Briceno Suarez, also known as Mono Jojoy, was killed in an attack on a FARC base in central Meta province.

The latest strike comes just before a meeting in Quito November 18 between the two countries foreign and defense ministers.

Colombia's relations with Ecuador have been strained since a March 2008 cross-border raid that killed the FARC's number two, Raul Reyes. But they have been on the mend under Santos.

 

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