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Colombia rebel leader surrenders

  • Story Highlights
  • Surrender of "Karina" is third such by senior FARC leaders this year
  • Woman is blamed for the 1983 death of the father of President Alvaro Uribe
  • "Karina" surrenders after being promised safety in return
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From Fernando Ramos
CNN

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- A senior rebel leader in Colombia surrendered Sunday -- the latest major blow for insurgents who have waged war against the Colombian state for 40 years.

Nelly Avila Moreno -- also known as "Karina" -- surrendered after commanding rebel soldiers with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC as the group is known by its Spanish acronym, the Colombian defense ministry said.

The Colombian government blames Moreno for the 1983 death of the father of President Alvaro Uribe, who took office in 2002 with a vow to crush the rebels. The president sent a message to Moreno about two weeks ago, officials said, promising that she would be safe if she turned herself in.

Moreno commanded rebel troops in northwestern Colombia, the government said. She turned herself in to authorities in the state of Antioquia.

Her surrender is the third significant setback to the FARC this year.

On March 1, a raid by the Colombian police and armed forced killed the FARC's second-in-command, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, also known as Raul Reyes.

He was the most senior FARC leader killed by the Colombian government in nearly 40 years of war. He was also the first member of the FARC's leadership council to be killed in combat.

About a week later, Colombian authorities reported the death of another member of the FARC's leadership council. They said a subordinate shot and killed Ivan Rios -- also known as Manuel de Jesus Munoz -- and then walked for 15 days to turn himself in to authorities.

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