Bogota: Colombian warplanes bombed two leftist rebel camps in the southern Meta region Friday in a New Year’s Day raid that killed 18 rebels and resulted in the capture of 11 others, the country’s defense minister said.
In a separate incident, a soldier and a 14-year-old girl were killed in an attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC, in the southwestern region of Huila, the military said.
Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said the raid on the rebel camps in Meta war were carried out by air force planes — which bombed the camps — and special operations forces on the ground.
“While Colombians celebrate the end of year holidays with their families, our soldiers maintain their commitment to confront narcoterrorism in the country’s jungles,” he said.
Silva said the operation was part of a response to the kidnapping and assassination of governor Luis Francisco Cuellar 10 days ago in the southern region of Caqueta.
Authorities also said that on New Year’s Eve FARC guerrillas opened fire against an army patrol in the southwestern region of Huila, killing a soldier and a 14-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire.
Four other people were hurt in the incident, according to a military spokesperson.
The armed forces have offered a reward of 15,000 dollars for information leading to the capture of the perpetrators.
The FARC, which is thought to number 6,000 to 10,000 fighters, has been at war with the Colombian government for around 45 years.