Colombian forces bombed the jungle camp where FARC chief Cano was hiding. But while Colombia's FARC rebels are half the size they were a decade ago, they still are capable of major attacks.
Colombia forces have killed the top leader of the country’s most powerful guerrilla army after a bomb raid on his jungle camp, officials said, calling it the “most resounding blow” to the FARC in its nearly 50-year struggle against the government.
Guillermo Leon Saenz, whose nom de guerre was Alfonso Cano, was killed in combat Friday evening after an air raid earlier in the day in a remote region of Cauca Province. Cano’s body was was identified through fingerprinting. A photograph released to the media showed he had shaved off his trademark beard.
While Cano is the most senior commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ever to be killed in combat, his death does not mean the imminent demise of the FARC.
“This is a more a political blow to the FARC more than a military one,” said Ariel Avila, a conflict analyst with the Nuevo Arco Iris think tank in Bogota. “But is this the end? Not yet.”
On inspecting the bombed-out camp, troops found several computers, 39 pen drives, 24 hard disks, 194 million pesos in cash, and an undetermined amount of dollars and euros, said Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
President Juan Manuel Santos and the military high command traveled Saturday to Popayan, where Cano’s body was taken, to personally verify the body.