Twelve bodyguards of Farc rebel leader Guillermo Saenz have died in an army attack, Colombian special forces say.
Commandos launched a surprise raid on a base of the rebels’ supreme commander in central Colombia’s Tolima mountains at an altitude of 2,500m (8,200ft).
The Colombian army said at least a dozen bodyguards were killed and it was a severe blow to the leftist rebels.
Local media said the army was gradually closing in on the chief of Farc, which has been fighting since the 1960s.
Female confidante ‘killed’
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe congratulated the special forces team for the operation, which is said to have taken place in the early hours of Sunday.
Mr Uribe said: “I can confirm that one of the guerrillas killed in the operation was a woman named Magaly. She was responsible for the deaths of at least 70 soldiers and police officers.”
He was referring to Magaly Grannobles - a friend of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) leader - who also commanded a rebel unit.
The commander of Colombia’s armed forces, Gen Freddy Padilla de Leon, described her as “an extremely dangerous criminal and a trusted confidante of the Farc leader”.
Gen Padilla said the killing of the Farc bodyguards was as “a decisive move against the security apparatus that guards the leadership of the Farc”.
However, fierce fighting on Sunday between the army and the Farc in north-eastern Colombia claimed the lives of at least six soldiers.
FARC. Kill them all. Terror is terror is terror.
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