Eight Colombian soldiers killed in clash with rebels

Bogota - Eight Colombian soldiers were killed Wednesday in a clash with leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the northeastern Perija mountains on the Venezuelan border.

"Unfortunately eight military officers died today in ... the province of La Guajira. The events took place in the early hours as the soldiers were ambushed by FARC," said La Guajira Interior Minister Jose Ballesteros.

Army reinforcements were sent to the site of the clash in the town of Villanueva, Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said.

Colombian media reports said the rebels escaped to Venezuelan territory following the encounter with the military.

FARC have been fighting Colombian authorities for more than 40 years. The rebel group has reportedly been weakened considerably by military activity in recent decades. However, there is no end in sight for the drawn-out conflict. (dpa)