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Colombian rebel commander killed in Venezuela

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A dissident former leader of Colombia’s Farc rebels has been killed in an ambush in Venezuela, local media reported on Sunday.

Hernán Darío Velásquez, nicknamed El Paisa, was reportedly shot dead in Venezuela’s Apure state.

His death has not been officially confirmed and the Colombian army said it had no knowledge of the killing.

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Local media have speculated that mercenaries may have killed Velásquez, seeking rewards for his capture.

Colombian authorities told El Tiempo newspaper that they would not confirm his death until officials had seen his body. A spokesperson for Colombian president Iván Duque told Reuters news agency that his office was seeking more information.

The Farc rebels were a Marxist group that waged a bitter war against the Colombian government for over 50 years, before eventually calling a ceasefire in 2016.

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A commander of one of the Farc’s most feared units, Velásquez became notorious for the severity of his attacks. He was behind a car bombing in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, that killed 36 people and wounded nearly 200 more in 2003.—BBC

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