A top commander of the rebel group Farc has been killed in a military raid on his jungle camp in one of the biggest blows against the insurgency, the Colombian government said.
The death of Mono Jojoy is a political and military victory for President Juan Manuel Santos, a former defence minister who came to office in August vowing to keep up a hard line with the guerrillas.
The Farc, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is at its weakest in decades after eight years of a US-backed security campaign. "The symbol of terrorism in Colombia has fallen," President Santos said in New York where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly. "To the rest of the Farc, we are coming after you, we are not going to let down our guard."
The loss of Jojoy, the Farc's military chief who was also known as Jorge Suarez Briceno, will be a severe blow to the rebel's strategic capacity. But guerrilla units remain a threat in rural areas where the state presence is still weak.
Jojoy was killed in an air strike involving more than 30 aircraft and helicopters. As many as 20 other rebels were killed in the operation in the Macarena region, one of the Farc's last strongholds. His hidden camp was a warren of tunnels including a concrete bunker, the Defence Minister told reporters.