February 3, 2019 / 3:13 AM / 7 months ago

Colombian rebel dissident leader killed in military operation

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A Colombian rebel leader who refused to demobilize under a 2016 peace deal with the government was killed by the armed forces on Saturday, President Ivan Duque said.

The man, known by his nom de guerre Rodrigo Cadete, was a top member of a faction of former rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who refused to adhere to the peace agreement.

“Today in a seamless operation the criminal known as Rodrigo Cadete, one of the most feared figures of terrorism in our country, was neutralized,” Duque said at an event in the city of Manizales.

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said at the same event that Cadete had been bringing together dissidents to form a new group and that nine other guerrilla fighters were killed and others captured.

The dissidents have an estimated 1,800 combatants spread across about 30 units.

Some 13,000 FARC members, including 6,000 combatants, demobilized under the peace accord. The group is now a political party, with 10 seats in Congress guaranteed through 2026.

The FARC fought the government for more than five decades. The conflict in Colombia has killed more than 260,000 people.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Julia Symmes Cobb, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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