One of the main leaders of the dissident factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) was killed during a military operation in the south-west of the country, President Ivan Duque announced on Monday January 24.

Euclides España, known under the pseudonym of Jhonier, has been "neutralized", says Ivan Duque, referring to "one of the most important blows" dealt to these dissident factions of the old Marxist guerrillas who had stood aside of the 2016 peace process.

The Colombian government had promised a reward of 755,000 dollars (about 667,000 euros) to anyone who would locate Jhonier, who was also wanted by the United States.

"We are talking about a criminal with a murder and criminal background of more than 25 years," said Ivan Duque.

"Advanced technologies"

Jhonier, whose age is unknown, was killed in an operation carried out by the army with the support of the police in the municipality of Tacueyo, in the department of Cauca, according to the authorities.

"We used cutting-edge intelligence technology...and our best troops so that they could advance mostly at night, and that's how today around three o'clock in the afternoon we have managed to neutralize this symbol of evil,” said General Luis Fernando Navarro, the army chief, who accompanied President Duque during his statement.

About 2,500 fighters, without a unified command, rejected the peace agreement signed in November 2016 between Farc and the government which led to the disarmament of about 7,000 rebels.

Some 5,000 fighters

Short and overweight, Jhonier was unknown to the public until his image began circulating in 2020 after an interview published by the newspaper El Espectador.

In camouflage uniform, rifle in hand, he presented himself as a member of "the real armed resistance which did not go to Havana", place of the peace process which demobilized some 13,000 men and women of the FARC.

These dissidents continue to operate in the country, financing themselves through drug trafficking, illegal mining or extortion, according to Colombian intelligence services.

According to the NGO Indepaz, there are a total of some 5,000 fighters, divided into two large organizations.

This latest dissent is led by former Farc chief negotiator Ivan Marquez, who took up arms in 2019 citing state violations of the 2016 peace accord.

With AFP

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