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FARC leader Marulanda dead as hopes for peace grow

FARC leader Marulanda dead as hopes for peace grow
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The founder and chief commander of Colombia’s FARC rebels, Manuel Marulanda, has died after more that 40 years fighting the state from jungle and mountain bases. Marulanda organised the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in the 1960’s to bridge the gap between rich and poor.

The Colombian Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff David Rene Moreno announced that military intelligence learned that Marulanda died on March the 26th. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined. The military also said that Marulanda, known as “Sharpshooter”, had been replaced by Alfonso Cano.

President Alvaro Uribe made the following statement: “ The government has received calls from FARC, where some leaders of the group have announced their willingness to quit, and free the hostages, including Ingrid Betancourt, if the government grants them freedom. The answer is yes.”

Marulanda’s demise could mark the end of FARC after senior female commander Karina recently surrendered and the group’s No.2 , Raul Reyes, was killed by the Colombian army in March.

Among the many captives held is the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt who was captured during the 2002 presidential election campaign.