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Colombian army kills 12 FARC rebels, president says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Ten Colombian soldiers killed in separate attack
  • A female rebel leader was among those killed, government says
  • FARC has been waging war on government since the mid-1960s
  • The guerrillas are said to be involved in the drug trade to finance insurrection
  • Colombia
  • FARC

(CNN) -- The Colombian military killed 12 Marxist guerrilla rebels in a gunbattle Sunday in the central state of Tolima, President Alvaro Uribe said on his website.

Ten Colombian soldiers were killed Sunday in a separate confrontation with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known by its Spanish acronym FARC, the nation's military said.

The surprise 1 a.m. attack on the FARC guerrillas was carried out by police, army and air force personnel in the nation's central mountain range, Uribe said.

Among those killed was a female rebel leader known as "Maryeri," responsible for the deaths of 70 soldiers in the past eight years, Uribe said.

The rebel group was responsible for 30 attacks in Tolima in the past two years, the president said.

The 10 Colombian army soldiers were killed Sunday morning in a firefight with FARC guerrillas in Arauca state in northeastern Colombia, the military said.

The rebels were trying to blow up an electric plant and opened fire when the soldiers approached, the military said Sunday on its website.

The FARC has been waging war on the Colombian government since the mid-1960s.

Officials say the guerrillas are involved in the drug trade to finance their insurgency.

The FARC also has carried out a series of abductions over the years and is believed to still hold more than a dozen captives.

The rebels released a hostage in March, and the Colombian military rescued four captives in June.