Colombia army kills 24 leftist rebels

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Colombian troops killed 24 FARC leftist rebels and captured 10 others during a gun battle in the country’s eastern Arauca province, President Juan Manuel Santos said in a Twitter message on Wednesday. “A huge blow against the FARC in Arauca where they killed our soldiers,” Santos wrote. “There are 24 dead and 10 captured,” Santos said in his message, which was also posted in his official webpage. Over the weekend, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group ambushed an army unit in Arauca, killing 11 soldiers. The violence follows FARC rebel overtures — deemed insufficient by the government — to make peace with the Bogota government. The FARC officially renounced abduction of civilians late last month, but still holds 10 members of Colombian security forces, though it has pledged to release them soon. Santos has said he would open a direct dialogue with the FARC only when all hostages are released and the group vows to cease “terrorist” actions.