Alfonso Cano, 62-year old top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was killed by Colombian troops during an anti-guerrilla operation. There was a US $5 million reward for the capture of Cano. He took over the leadership of the FARC after its founder, Manuel Marulanda Velez, died in 2008.
“The military has thus achieved one of its most important goals,” Alberto Gonzalez Mosquera, governor of Cauca department, told local radio late Friday.
He added that Cano had died in the western part of his department located in the southwest of the country.
A military intelligence source also confirmed the death of the FARC leader to AFP.
“We have been able to confirm that Cano has been killed,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We don’t know yet all the details, but his death is a fact.”
Cano came from a middle class family, as his father was an agronomist and his mother a teacher.
He studied law and anthropology at the National University in Bogota, where he is remembered as an avid scholar of history and other social sciences.
He earned his stripes in the Communist Party and joined the FARC in the 1970s where he quickly rose through the ranks becoming the group’s chief ideologist.
Throughout his career as a guerrilla leader, Cano combined military strikes with attempts to consolidate gains made by the insurgents through negotiations with the government.
Shortly before the 2010 inauguration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Cano made public a video, in which he called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Colombia.
Many believe that it will be difficult for FARC to replace their top leader.