7 Colombian soldiers killed, 5 wounded in clashes with guerrillas

Bogota, Feb 13 (EFE).- Seven Colombian soldiers were killed and five more wounded in clashes with leftist rebels in the southern province of Caqueta, the military told Efe.

"We have seven Colombian soldiers dead," the source said, adding that the fighting with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, took place in the town of Milan.

Later, an army communique added that five soldiers had been wounded in combat and were taken to a regional hospital.

The army said that troops engaged the rebels after intelligence information revealed that the FARC was about to attack the village of San Antonio de Getucha.

The military added that further intelligence indicated that the FARC "is evacuating an undetermined number of dead and wounded terrorists."

The fighting comes as the FARC and the Colombian government are engaged in peace talks in Havana with the aim of putting an end to the armed conflict that has beset the country for almost half a century.

On Jan. 20 the FARC ended a unilateral two-month cease fire, after which the rebels intensified their attacks on the army, the police and the civilian population.

Despite that, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that he expects to achieve peace with the rebels "willingly or unwillingly."