Colombia’s peace talks are under renewed pressure after FARC rebels killed seven soldiers and injured five others.
An unknown number of guerrillas were also shot dead in the fighting in the southern state of Caqueta, the worst blow against security forces since peace talks began late last year.
Army General Emiro Barrios said the gun battle erupted when rebels tried to take over the town of Milan.
Violence has intensified recently as rebel and government representatives seek a negotiated deal in Cuba to end five decades of war.
FARC has announced plans to free two captive policemen and a soldier. Although it has not said when, the move could ease some of the tension at the talks table caused by the escalating conflict.