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Colombia troops kill top FARC rebel leader 'Mono Jojoy'

Colombia troops killed top FARC rebel leader Jorge Briceño, better known as 'Mono Jojoy,' along with another 20 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in a bombing raid Wednesday.

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Colombia's Defence Minister Rodrigo Rivera (c.) delivers a speech in Bogota Sept. 23. Top Colombian FARC rebel commander 'Mono Jojoy' has been killed in a military raid on his jungle camp in one of the biggest blows against Latin America's oldest insurgency, the government said on Thursday.

John Vizcaino/Reuters

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Colombian government forces have killed the top military chief of the leftist FARC rebel group in what new President Juan Manuel Santos called the most “resounding blow” ever against the guerrilla army.

Jorge Briceño, better known as “Mono Jojoy” was killed along with another 20 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Government forces conducted a bombing raid Wednesday on his camp in an area known as La Macarena in southern Colombia.

“The symbol of terror in Colombia has fallen,” Mr. Santos said from New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly. He added that 30 planes and 27 helicopters participated in the operation Wednesday. Jojoy’s body was identified on Thursday.

“This is historic news for our country,” said Santos, who took power last month. “This is our welcome to the FARC.”

The United States, which has provided some $6 billion in mostly military aid to Colombia, had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Jojoy’s arrest or conviction. Santos is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Friday.

'Heart of Jojoy's lair'

Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said five soldiers were wounded in the operation which struck at the “heart of Jojoy’s lair.” He said the rebel camp was nearly 1,000-ft. long and included escape tunnels and a concrete building where Jojoy hid out.

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