Colombian guerrilla reported killed in Venezuela; no official word
A former Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC) combatant who took part in the 2016 peace negotiations with the Government of then-President Juan Manuel Santos has been killed in Venezuela, it was reported.
After the truce, Hernan Dario Velasquez (a.k.a. El Paisa) announced he would be rearming with some other FARC comrades and forming a faction called Segunda Marquetalia.
According to reports, El Paisa ended up dead at the hands of a group of Colombian mercenaries after the bounty on his head. The strike reportedly was carried out Sunday but it was not announced until early Tuesday, according to local media.
The killing reportedly took place in the Venezuelan state of Apure near the border with Colombia, but neither government has acknowledged it. Unnamed sources quoted by the El Tiempo newspaper said the administration of President Iván Duque was not linked to the killing.
Colombian President Iván Duque has long accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of sheltering and protecting FARC dissidents, but Caracas has repeatedly denied the accusations. An Interpol red notice had been reissued against Velásquez earlier this year.
Velasquez had allegedly been behind several high-profile attacks, including a car bombing that killed 36 people and wounded dozens of others in February 2003 in Bogota.
Some 13,000 fighters have surrendered their arms since the 2016 peace deal, but about 5,000 remained in arms. According to the Indepaz research institute, approximately 90 armed groups with some 10,000 members remain active in Colombia.
Last week, the United States removed FARC from its list of “terrorist organizations.” But two new ones were added: Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP.
Ivan Marquetalia, leader of Segundo Marquetalia, had called on the Colombian government to engage in talks with all armed groups operating in the country in order to reach complete peace.