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Heavy combat with Colombia rebels kills 14

Written by: Staff
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BOGOTA, Colombia, Nov 21 (Reuters) Heavy fighting between Colombian troops and left-wing guerrillas killed 11 rebels and three soldiers in a remote jungle area in the south of the country, the armed forces said today.

Combat between two army brigades and guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia erupted yesterday in Caqueta, which has been the focus of US-financed offensive against the insurgency and the vast illicit cocaine trade.

President Alvaro Uribe has benefited from millions of dollars in military aid from Washington and violence from Colombia's four-decade conflict has decreased sharply. But thousands are still killed or displaced by fighting each year in rural areas of the country.

Three Colombians a day on average are still injured by land mines set by the rebels to deter the military's advance.

The FARC, branded a drug-trafficking terrorist group by Washington, began in the 1960s as a peasant army fighting against inequalities between the rich and the poor. Uribe's campaign has mostly pushed the rebels back into the jungles.

REUTERS SP ND2342

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