Fighting in Colombia leaves five rebels, police officer dead

Marxist FARC rebels and police clashed in different regions of Colombia on Tuesday, in violence that left five guerrillas and a police officer dead, authorities said.

The deadly unrest threatened to overshadow the resumption of peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) being held in Havana.

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 on November 19, so far have addressed only the first item on a five-point agenda -- land reform. Land distribution was one of the triggers of the decades-old conflict in Colombia, where there is gaping inequality between wealthy landowners and poor peasants.

Pope Francis on Monday expressed his support for peace negotiations with the Colombian guerrilla group FARC at a private audience in the Vatican with President Juan Manuel Santos.