7 dead in Colombia as FARC, government to resume talks

Five FARC militants, a policeman and a soldier were killed in recent days, authorities said Monday as peace talks aimed at ending the long-running conflict were set to resume.

In the southern Caqueta department, five militants from the leftist FARC rebel group were killed and a soldier wounded in fighting in a rural area, the army operational chief there said.

In a separate military operation in the same town of Puerto Rico, troops captured four guerrillas and seized weapons and explosives.

Police also blamed FARC militants for the death of a police officer in an urban area of Tame municipality, along the northeastern border with Venezuela.

Meanwhile, a soldier was killed Sunday in a minefield installed by the FARC in Norte de Santander department, also in the northeast, according to the army.

The FARC -- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- is the country's largest leftist guerrilla group, and the insurgency it has waged since 1964 is the oldest in Latin America.

Peace talks, which began November 19, so far have addressed only the first item on a five-point agenda -- land reform. They are set to resume Tuesday in Cuba after a month's recess.

Land distribution was one of the triggers of the decades-old conflict Colombia, where there is gaping inequality that divides wealthy landowners and poor peasants.