Colombian Defense Minister Thursday called on the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to lay down weapons and stop confrontations with the government.
"FARC rebels, your project lacks a future, I invite you to reincorporate yourself to civilian life," Juan Manuel Santos said at a press conference.
The minister confirmed the death of guerrilla leader Gustavo Rueda, alias "Martin Caballero," in an encounter with government forces on Wednesday in El Olivo, the Carmen sector in the northern Bolivar department.
Rueda has been the FARC's boss along the northern Atlantic coast, overtaking many rebel leaders in that region, he said.
Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo, who has been kept under captive for six years by a FARC faction under Rueda, celebrated the result of the operations that began eight months ago to crack down on the rebel forces.
Araujo, who escaped during a military operation against the group, was among dozens of hostages whom the FARC wanted to swap for the 500 rebels held by the government.