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Colombian president urges Farc to lay down arms following Cano's death

Reuters/Eliana Aponte

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has called for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farc, to lay down their arms following the death of their Marxist leader, Alfonso Cano, in a massive anti-guerilla operation on Friday. 


“Demobilise or you will end up in prison or in a grave,” the president warned.

Cano, aged-63, and his female companion were killed during the operation, launched days ago in the southern Cauca department, in which as many as 1,000 troops took part.

According to Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, military strikes on Friday were followed by a ground offensive to cut off escape routes and Cano was killed in the ensuing firefight with soldiers.

Cano, whose real name was Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, took over as head of Farc in March 2008 after the death of its founder and revered leader Manuel ‘Sure Shot’ Marulanda Velez.

The group is Colombia’s oldest and largest rebel force believed to have some 8,000 members. It has been at war with the government since it was founded in 1964.

The Farc suffered a serious loss in 2008 when its number two, Raul Reyes, died during a Colombian raid in Ecuadorian territory.

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