Friday, March 7, 2008

FARC saves U.S. taxpayers 5 million dollars by doing the work Americans don't like to do.

Adding another crushing blow to Latin America's oldest and strongest guerilla movement was the killing of the top rebel leader by his own chief of security on Friday. The security chief gave troops the leader's severed hand as proof, Colombia's defense minister said Friday.

Ivan Rios was the second member of the ruling secretariat of FARC to be killed in a week.

The guerrilla force was already shaken by the death Saturday of its spokesman, Raul Reyes, in a cross-border raid by Colombian troops into Ecuador.

"The FARC has suffered a new, major blow," Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said at a news conference.

Santos said troops launched an operation designed to capture Rios on Feb. 17 after receiving tips that he was in a mountainous area of the western province of Caldas.

On Thursday, he said, a guerrilla known as Rojas came to the troops with Rios' severed hand, laptop computer and ID, saying he had killed his boss.

It was unclear what motivated Rojas to kill his boss, but Santos said it was to "relieve the military pressure."

Santos did not say what happened to Rojas, and he didn't take questions.

The U.S. State Department had a standing bounty of $5 million for Rios, whose real name is Jose Juvenal Velandia. He has been charged with drug smuggling by the United States, and is on a U.S. Treasury Department list of terrorists and drug traffickers.

1 comment:

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