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At least nine FARC rebels killed in Colombia

At least nine Marxist FARC rebels were killed in a clash with Colombia's military even as peace talks are held between the two sides in Cuba, the army said on Sunday.

BOGOTA: At least nine Marxist FARC rebels were killed in a clash with Colombia's military even as peace talks are held between the two sides in Cuba, the army said on Sunday.

The military operation took place in the northern town of Tame, near the border with Venezuela.

"At least nine FARC guerrillas were killed in a joint operation between the air force and army, based on preliminary information," an army spokeswoman in Bogota said.

Rebels managed to fire on a military helicopter but did not shoot it down, she added.

The peace talks have been under way in Havana for just over 14 months, seeking to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency.

Both sides exchanged proposals Wednesday on one of the talks' main agenda items, illegal drugs.

Despite slow progress, President Juan Manuel Santos, said Friday that he expects to conclude negotiations in 2014, but doubts an agreement will be signed before May presidential elections.

The talks began in November 2012.

Founded in 1964, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is the country's largest rebel group, with an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 fighters.

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