Latin America & Caribbean

Profile: Farc commander Mono Jojoy

Farc military commander Jorge Briceno, aka Mono Jojoy (R) with the Farc's then leader Manuel Marulanda - 29 April 2000 file photo
Image caption Jojoy (R) was a member of the Farc secretariat - its top decision-making body

Jorge Briceno, also known as Mono Jojoy, was considered the top military commander of the Farc, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

According to Colombian media reports, he was born on 5 February, 1953, in the town of Cabrera, about 70km (44 miles) south-west of Bogota.

He joined the Farc in 1975 and rose up the ranks to become one of its most feared and respected military commanders, eventually joining the group's secretariat, its top decision-making body.

He was believed to be responsible for the Farc's military development and the brains behind many of the rebel army's victories.

In 2008 he was considered to be in the frame to lead the Farc after its founder and legendary leader, Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, died of a heart attack aged 78.

The position went instead to Alfonso Cano, long the movement's ideologue.

Jojoy remained in command of the Farc's strongest fighting unit, the Eastern Bloc.

Colombian authorities had charged him with numerous counts of drug trafficking, kidnapping, assault, murder, possession of weapons and much more.

In 2002, the US charged him and two other Farc commanders with kidnapping Americans and drug trafficking.

For almost 10 years the Colombian army has had a task force dedicated to hunting the man known as the Farc field marshal, but he always managed to elude his pursuers.

He was finally caught in a strike on his hidden camp in the jungles of the Macarena region, one of the Farc's last strongholds.

His death will be a major blow to the rebel group and a coup for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, says the BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Medellin.

The Marxist Farc rebels have been fighting the Colombian authorities since the mid-1960s.

While still capable of carrying out deadly attacks on police and security forces, the group has suffered a series of devastating blows in recent years and has lost several of its commanders.

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