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Colombia Army Says at Least 8 Rebels Killed Since Truce Walk-Back

At least eight members of an armed rebel group have been killed since Colombia’s military launched an offensive in the southwest following a partial truce suspension, a general said Tuesday.

The Colombian government last week said it was suspending its truce with the Central General Staff (EMC) in three different departments along the Pacific coast, all major cocaine-producing areas, citing violence including an attack on an Indigenous group that left one woman dead.

The army subsequently announced the launch of a vast offensive, dubbed “Operation Mantus” and involving some 32,000 troops, to “curb the criminal activities of the EMC in the southwest of the country.”

The truce remains in force in other regions, however, including the Amazon and along the border with Venezuela.

Over the past week, the operation has left “eight dead and 17 wounded” in the EMC ranks, the commander of the military forces of the Cauca department, General Federico Mejia, told AFP.

He said the figures were based on communications intercepted between the rebels.

The deaths, he said, occurred in Micay Canyon, a mountainous area and EMC stronghold in inland Cauca.

On Tuesday, the situation in the Micay Canyon was calm, AFP journalists observed.

The EMC — dissident guerillas who broke off from the rebel FARC group when it signed a peace pact with the government in 2016 — opened talks with President Gustavo Petro‘s administration last year.

Since his election in 2022, leftist Petro has sought to put an end to six decades of conflict between the country’s security forces, guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug gangs.

However, his “total peace” process has faced multiple setbacks, and the guerrillas — who are linked to drug trafficking — are accused by rights groups of taking advantage of various ceasefires to expand their influence, seize more territory, and recruit new members.

Petro’s government has suspended the truce before, doing so for several months last year after four Indigenous people who defected from the EMC were killed.

The EMC is made up of some 3,500 fighters and controls drug trafficking routes along the borders with Ecuador and Venezuela, according to military intelligence.

Source: The Defense Post