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May 30, 2017

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Colombia troops die in 1st deadly clash of peace talks

BOGOTA -- Five Colombian soldiers were killed by FARC rebels in the first major incident since peace talks between the Andean country's government and guerrilla leaders began earlier this week, the army said on Saturday.

The government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) started a peace process on Thursday in Norway aimed at finding a negotiated end to the five-decade-old conflict. The negotiations move to Cuba on Nov. 15.

The Friday night attack with explosives by rebels in the southern Putumayo region killed five soldiers and injured 10 more, said army general German Giraldo. The attack took place in a FARC stronghold near the border with Ecuador.

"Our hearts are with the families of the soldiers that lost their lives in this despicable attack with explosives," President Juan Manuel Santos said in his Twitter account.

The Colombian government has repeatedly rejected a FARC request that there should be a bilateral cease-fire during the negotiations.

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