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Colombian rebels take hit

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BOGOTA, April 11 (UPI) -- The Colombian army killed or detained several members of the country's largest and most persistent insurgent group during the weekend, officials said.

Two ringleaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, were detained and seven alleged members died in combat against the Colombian army in the southern department of Caqueta Sunday, El Espectador reports.

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Two high-level leaders of FARC were among those killed, including one commander who went by the name Colacho, who spent 20 years in the rebel group, and Fabian Ramirez.

Authorities also killed a 24-year member who went by the name Diomedez, who allegedly was one of the kidnappers of former Colombian-French presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

In a joint operation, Colombia's intelligence agency and the army captured Carlos Mario Cardona, who terrorized the southwest department of Valle del Cauca through extortion, intimidation and killings for more than 15 years.

The army said Cardona's arrest signifies a heavy blow against FARC in that region of the country.

The recent captures brings to 26 the number of alleged FARC members detained this month. FARC has waged its insurgency for decads.

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