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/ 25 May 2008

Govt: Colombia’s top Farc commander is dead

The founder and chief commander of Colombia’s Farc rebel force, Manuel Marulanda, has died after more than 40 years fighting the state from jungle and mountain camps. If confirmed, the death of Manuel Marulanda, who organised the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas in the 1960s, would be the heaviest blow yet to Latin America’s oldest insurgency.

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/ 21 May 2008

Conflicts using child soldiers drop sharply

The number of conflicts in which child soldiers were involved dropped sharply from 27 in 2004 to 17 at the end of 2007, according to a report on Tuesday by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. But despite the decline, the report said tens of thousands of children remain in the ranks of militias and other armed groups in at least 24 countries.

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/ 6 March 2008

Chávez accuses Colombia of war crimes

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accused his Colombian counterpart of war crimes as Venezuela and Ecuador turned up the heat on Bogotá over its military strike on an insurgent camp inside Ecuador. ”A war crime occurred there,” Chávez charged late on Wednesday at a joint press conference with Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa.

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/ 2 March 2008

Colombia says it kills Farc commander in Ecuador

Colombia’s military said on Saturday its troops had killed a top rebel commander in an attack on a jungle camp across the border in Ecuador in a severe blow to Latin America’s oldest guerrilla insurgency. Raul Reyes, one of seven members of the secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, was killed in an operation that included air strikes and fighting with rebels across the border.

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/ 27 February 2008

Venezuelan helicopters fly to free hostages

Two Venezuelan helicopters flew into Colombia on Wednesday to pick up four lawmakers held hostage for years in jungle camps by Marxist rebels, in a diplomatic victory for Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia last month released two politicians in a deal brokered by Chávez.

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/ 14 January 2008

Ex-Colombian hostage reunited with son

A Colombian woman freed last week after six years as a rebel hostage arrived in Bogota on Sunday and headed straight for a reunion with her son, Emmanuel, born in a jungle camp and then taken away by her captors. A slightly dazed Clara Rojas arrived from Caracas, where she had been since leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez brokered her release.

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/ 10 January 2008

Colombia again attempts hostage handover

An airborne operation to pluck two hostages from their rebel captors deep in the Colombian jungle lurched back to life on Thursday, after a botched handover attempt collapsed 10 days ago. Two Venezuelan helicopters departed for Colombia at dawn, said a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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/ 1 January 2008

Colombian hostage-rescue deal crumbles

A delicate mission to free three hostages held by Colombian guerrillas appeared to collapse on Monday as the government and rebel leaders accused each other of trying to kill the deal. The Venezuela-led plan to pick up two women hostages and a child born to one of them in captivity has been repeatedly delayed since last Thursday.

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/ 26 November 2007

Colombia, Venezuela face crisis in relations

Colombia and Venezuela faced the worst crisis in their relations in years on Monday after the Colombian president accused Venezuela of seeking to install a Marxist regime in his country and Caracas ”froze” relations between the two countries. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said earlier he was putting bilateral ties in a ”freezer”.

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/ 27 September 2007

Experts track terrorism funds to West Africa

Militants are exploiting weak law enforcement in West Africa to raise funds from rackets ranging from people smuggling to drug trafficking and even fake Viagra, experts said. In the past two years, South American cartels have switched their trafficking routes into Europe to funnel drugs via lawless swathes of war-scarred West Africa.