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Colombia military, FARC patrol clash despite ceasefire

by Reuters
Sunday, 10 July 2016 19:10 GMT

A woman celebrates the signing of a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels at Botero square in Medellin, Colombia, June 23, 2016. The sign reads "Peace". REUTERS/Fredy Builes

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The incident occurs as the two sides near a peace accord

BOGOTA, July 10 (Reuters) - Colombian military and Marxist FARC guerrillas clashed over the weekend, in an incident just weeks after the government and rebel leadership agreed to a bilateral ceasefire as the two sides near a peace accord.

The fighting happened 48 hours ago in southern Meta province when troops came upon a patrol of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and shots were fired, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said on Sunday.

"There were some injuries," Villegas told reporters.

The government has offered to provide medical attention in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Villegas said.

President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC negotiators in Havana signed an historic accord on June 23 that ceased hostilities, effectively ending armed conflict that has stretched for more than 50 years and killed more than 220,000 people.

The accord puts the two sides close - possibly a question of weeks - to signing a final peace agreement.

In a statement, the FARC said the clash occurred because the military patrol broke protocols established in the ceasefire agreement. It did not elaborate on what those protocols were.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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