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Colombian troops kill FARC rebels in clash

Seven rebels die in central region battle, as government continues offensive despite holding peace talks with the group.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2014 17:31
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Colombian troops continue to launch offensives on FARC despite peace talks [Reuters]

Colombian army troops have killed at least seven FARC fighters in an operation in the central area of Tolima, the military has said.

The fighting on Tuesday comes after 14 FARC members were reported killed over the weekend in an army air and ground assault on a rebel base in a rural area near the Venezuelan border.

The Colombian government and the FARC have been in peace talks since November 2012, but President Juan Manuel Santos has vowed to keep pressure on the country's largest leftist armed group.

His government has refused requests for a ceasefire since opening Cuba-based peace talks in November 2012. Santos said in an interview published on Sunday that he nevertheless envisions FARC representatives sitting in Colombia's congress.

The army said the latest combat occurred in the Tolima municipality of Planadas, a mountainous area east of the city of Cali. 

It said the preliminary result was "the death of seven members of the Heroes of Marquetalia and the Alfredo Gonzalez mobile columns".

An army spokesman said fighting was continuing in the area. The army said five rebels, including one who was wounded, were captured during the operation.

The army says it killed 250 FARC rebels last year, including at least seven front commanders. It says it captured 1,150.

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