Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia army raid kills 26 Farc rebels as talks inch on

Colombian soldiers (file image) Image copyright EPA
Image caption As peace talks inch ahead in Cuba, decades-old violence flares up again back in Colombia

At least 26 members of the Farc rebel group have been killed in a military operation in Colombia, officials say.

The attack - in the south-western Cauca region - is the deadliest since the resumption of air raids against the rebels last month.

President Juan Manuel Santos restarted the raids after 11 soldiers were killed in an ambush.

The bloodshed comes as Farc and government representatives meet for the latest round of peace talks in Cuba.

The two sides have been in negotiations since 2012 to try to end more than half a century of conflict.

Thursday's military action comprised an air strike and ground assault against the rebel group in Guapi, Cauca, said officials.

The operation's aim was the capture of a rebel known by the alias "Javier", and two rebels were captured along with those killed, defence ministry officials told the Efe news agency.

The rebel column targeted was one the army blames for an attack on Gorgona island in November 2014, during which an army lieutenant died, the officials said.

Farc declared a unilateral truce last December, though some Farc leaders are reported to be warning that violations are making it increasingly difficult to maintain.

"The offensive continues until peace is achieved I hope as soon as possible!" said President Santos (in Spanish) after the attack.

Government and Farc representatives have reconvened in Havana, Cuba, as the latest round of negotiations inch forward.

The last meeting ended with a call from the Farc to dismantle paramilitary groups and without an agreement over reparations for the victims of the conflict, an issue that has been wrangled over for months.

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