Colombia Kills FARC's No. 2

Many think strike will pull rebels back to talks
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Suggested by AIan
Posted Sep 23, 2010 2:00 PM CDT
In this April 6, 2000, file photo, rebel leader Jorge Briceno sits as he drinks coffee on the outskirts of San Vicente del Caguan, Colombia.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, file)
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(Newser) – Colombia has killed FARC's No. 2 leader and longtime military commander, striking what President Juan Manuel Santos today called "the most crushing blow against the FARC in its entire history"—a 46-year-long struggle. Colombia's military began raining bombs on a major FARC base Monday, followed by ground combat yesterday; today, troops confirmed that Jorge Briceno, aka Mono Jojoy, was dead.

The rebel group turned toward cocaine trafficking under Briceno's watch in the '90s, but FARC has waned as US-backed Colombian forces have stepped up the fight over the last decade, and some think his death might persuade the leftist rebels back to the bargaining table. FARC still holds some 18 hostages in Colombia's jungles, the AP notes. For more on FARC, click here.

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