The Colombian Army killed 36 FARC rebels "in the pre-dawn bombing Monday of a guerrilla camp", in the Meta region, officials said. It is the second major blow to FARC in less than a week, as the military action comes just a few days after troops killed nearly 33 rebels in the Arauca state, near the border with Venezuela.
The FARC has recently said it plans to release its last prisoners, 10 soldiers and police officers held for as long as 14 years. In addition, the group has also announced the end of ransom kidnappings that have been a financing tool along with the cocaine trade. However, yet neither the FARC, who have about 9,000 rebels, nor Colombia's Armed Forces have eased up on military operations.
Colombia's Armed Forces chief, General Alejandro Navas, dismissed suggestions that the military attacks could delay the releases promised by FARC, saying the strikes fall within the "rules of the conflict." He added that Monday's raid was "several months in the planning."
The first military attack in the past week, the raid in Arauca, came four days after rebels in the same region killed 11 Colombian soldiers in an attack. President Juan Manuel Santos (pictured), who was defense minister between 2006 and 2009, said Monday that the armed forces "will not stop, will continue and will persevere".