BOGOTA (Reuters) – A prime commander belonging to a bunch of former Colombian rebels who rearmed following a 2016 peace deal was killed in an ambush in Venezuela, Colombian media reported on Sunday.
Hernan Dario Velasquez, referred to as El Paisa, is a former member of the now-demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. He and a number of other different well-known commanders stated in 2019 they had been rearming and forming a faction known as Segunda Marquetalia.
Velasquez was killed in an assault by mercenaries looking for to money in on rewards accessible for his seize, Colombian media, together with El Tiempo newspaper, reported.
El Tiempo, citing high-level official sources, stated the Colombian navy was in no method concerned in the operation, which it stated befell in Apure state.
Neither Colombia’s Defense Ministry nor the Venezuelan Information Ministry instantly responded to requests for remark.
A spokesman for Colombian President Ivan Duque stated the workplace was looking for details about Velasquez’s reported demise, whereas the commander of the armed forces and the top of the nationwide police each stated they’d no info.
Duque’s authorities accuses Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of sheltering and defending FARC dissidents, however Caracas has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano blamed a dispute over management of drug trafficking between the Venezuelan navy and unlawful armed teams for mass displacements of Venezuelans to Colombia earlier this yr.
An Interpol purple discover, which features as a sort of worldwide arrest warrant obliging member international locations – together with Venezuela – to arrest and extradite prison suspects, was reissued for Velasquez earlier this yr.
The commander of Segunda Marquetalia, Ivan Marquez, instructed native media final week that Colombia’s authorities ought to maintain talks with all armed teams to hunt “a whole peace” for the Andean nation.
Dissident teams rely some 2,400 fighters in their ranks, in response to the federal government, and battle crime gangs and each other for entry to unlawful mining and cocaine manufacturing.
(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera in Caracas and Luis Jaime Acosta in Bogota; Editing by Peter Cooney)