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Former rebel mayor of Colombia's capital removed from post

By Helen Murphy BOGOTA (Reuters) - The leftist mayor of Colombia's capital was removed from his post on Monday for the mismanagement of garbage collection and banned from holding office for 15 years, a blow to the nation's left as peace talks continue with Marxist FARC rebels.

Colombian FARC rebels declare 30-day unilateral ceasefire

Colombia's FARC rebels declared a 30-day unilateral ceasefire on Sunday and urged the government to do the same. The announcement, effective December 15, came in a statement read to reporters in the Cuban capital where the FARC and Bogota are in talks to end their decades-long conflict. cb/vlk/adm

Colombia rebel group urges drug 'decriminalization'

Colombia's FARC guerrilla group Monday called on the government of Juan Manuel Santos to decriminalize coca growing and drug use, in peace talks in Havana. FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo made the proposal before the day's talks, which are centered on drug trafficking, resumed. The rebels have long been accused of partly funding its operations through protecting drug smuggling routes in rural areas it controls. Colombia vies with Bolivia as the world's biggest exporter of cocaine.

Colombia's ELN guerrillas release kidnapped engineer

Bogota, Dec 1 (EFE).- The National Liberation Army, or ELN, Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group, on Sunday turned over to a humanitarian commission agricultural engineer Leon Andres Montes Ceballos, whom it had kidnapped last year. The International Committee of the Red Cross - which was part of the humanitarian mission along with the archbishop of Cali, Monsignor Dario de Jesus Monsalve, and the head of the Jesuit Community in Colombia, Francisco de Roux - reported the release in a communique.

Colombia's ELN rebels name envoys for peace talks with gov't

BOGOTA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Colombia's second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), on Friday appointed five representatives for peace talks with the government. "Two national commanders and three regional commanders have been designated for talks with the government," top ELN leader Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias "Gabino," said in an interview with the NTN24 news channel.

Colombian rebels urged to agree on 'humanitarian minimums'

Colombia's vice president Monday urged the leftist FARC rebel group to agree to a set of "minimum" humanitarian practices to strengthen prospects for peace. The proposal by Vice President Argelino Garzon would require the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to commit not to engage in a range of questionable tactics in return for a government pledge to respect the physical integrity of their fighters.

Army kills 10 ELN guerrilas in Colombia

Bogota, Nov 24 (EFE).- Soldiers killed 10 National Liberation Army, or ELN, guerrillas in fighting early Sunday in Fortul, a rural area in the northeastern Colombian border province of Arauca, military spokesmen told Efe. Two guerrillas were captured and taken to San Antonio Hospital in Tame for treatment of their wounds. The rebels belonged to the "Comrade Castro" unit of the Domingo Lain Front, one of the ELN's most powerful units. The front has hundreds of fighters in Arauca, the guerrilla group's main bastion, military spokesmen said.

Colombian soldiers kill 10 ELN rebels

Soldiers killed 10 militants from Colombia's leftist ELN rebel group and wounded two others in clashes near the border with Venezuela, President Juan Manuel Santos said Sunday. "Strike to ELN: 12 of its members neutralized in (the province of) Arauca. Congratulations to the army. The offensive will continue to bring peace," Santos wrote on his Twitter account. Soldiers took the two injured rebels into custody. The ELN, Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group, has about 2,500 fighters.

Colombia rebel deserters face new struggle as they seek to reintegrate

By Luis Jaime Acosta BOGOTA (Reuters) - Alfredo Usuga put up with 18 years of hunger, insomnia and fear before deserting Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels this year. Known by his war alias as Marlon, he is one of hundreds of rebels who abandoned the country's two leftist insurgent groups in recent years, an exodus that may have encouraged rebel leaders to seek a negotiated peace with the government.

Colombia peace talks to resume November 28 after delay

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the leftist FARC rebels will resume on November 28, after a 10-day postponement, a joint statement said Monday. The delay was in order for the two sides to "refine visions, exchange documents and analyze the various proposals received from different sectors of society," the statement said, published on the site The talks had been scheduled to resume Monday to take on the third agenda item, illegal drug trafficking, which the FARC is alleged to have abetted to finance their operations.
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