Top former FARC leader allegedly killed in Venezuela

One of the most prominent leaders of the Colombian guerrilla group, FARC, has reportedly been killed in Venezuela, according to its former members.

Jesus Santrich led the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia up until its members disbanded in 2016, as part of a peace deal with the Colombian government, ending its part in more than 50 years of conflict.

Santrich however went on to lead a small group of former FARC rebels who rejected the peace accord.

On Tuesday, that group released a statement saying Santrich was killed by Colombian commandos while traveling by truck through Venezuela.

Colombian Defence Minister Diego Molano said on Tuesday that the government was working to confirm the news.

"Intelligence information that was communicated to us this morning shows that in a confrontation between criminal gangs in Venezuela, Santrich and another group of criminals died."

He also tweeted, "If confirmed, it proves Venezuela harbors narco-criminals."

The Venezuelan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Santrich was wanted by the the United States on drug trafficking charges and had long been thought to be based in Venezuela.

He disappeared in 2019 after being indicted by the U.S. until he, along with another former FARC leader, announced a new offensive against the government.

Colombia's government has accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of harboring rebel dissidents, while Maduro has denied the claim, saying his country is a victim of criminal migration.

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