At least 19 killed as rebels, soldiers clash in Colombia

- At least 19 soldiers were killed over
the weekend in separate clashes with rebels
in Colombia, the country's president said.
President Juan Manuel Santos reported
attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, commonly known as the FARC, in
Arauca and Caqueta.
In the department of Arauca, which borders
Venezuela, rebels ambushed a group of
soldiers guarding an oil pipeline. Fifteen
soldiers were killed and 12 rebels were
captured, Santos said.
Another four soldiers were killed in Caqueta,
which is a department in the south of the
country.
"The instructions to our forces are as follows:
Don't stop shooting, even for an instant until
we reach the end of the conflict," the
president said, according to his office.
Santos vowed operations will continue until
those responsible are held to account.
The violence comes amid peace talks
between the government and the FARC. The
two sides have been at war since the 1960s.
Santos has said he wants talks, which started
last year and are taking place in Cuba,
wrapped up by November.
There have been sporadic attempts at peace
in the past.
The last effort fell apart in 2002. Then-
President Andres Pastrana ceded an area the
size of Switzerland to the guerrilla group, but
he ended negotiations after rebels launched
a series of attacks across the country in an
apparent bid to strengthen their position.