Friday, March 7, 2008

Second Colombian rebel leader killed

Second Colombian rebel leader killed

CUCUTA, Colombia (CNN) -- As South American officials tried to ease tensions sparked by Colombia's killing of a rebel leader inside Ecuador, the Colombian army announced the death of another top militant Friday.

A cooler allegedly containing the hand of Ivan Rios is examined at a military base in Manizales.

1 of 3 Ivan Rios, whose real name was Manuel de Jesus Munoz, was one of six remaining members of the leadership council of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

"The FARC has suffered a new, major blow," Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said, according to The Associated Press.

Rios was killed by his own chief of security, who offered items including the rebel leader's severed right hand as proof of his death, the AP quoted Santos as saying.

On Saturday, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, known as Raul Reyes, was killed in a raid into Ecuador.

He was FARC's second-in-command -- and the first member of the leftist rebel group's general secretariat killed by Colombia in the 40 years that it has been fighting to overthrow the Colombian government.

Twenty-one other people were also killed in the attack.

The raid sparked protests from the left-leaning leaders of Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua, all of whom cut diplomatic ties with Colombia, and Ecuador and Venezuela moved troops to their borders with Colombia.

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