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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 00:02 GMT 01:02 UK
Colombia mayors killed by rebels
Mayor Orlando Hoyos (left) and Colombian police officers. Archive picture
The mayor's body has not been found yet
Left-wing rebels in Colombia have killed two local mayors in the southeastern state of Cauca, reports say.

The state governor said four mayors were called to Monday's meeting by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a secret mountainous hideout to explain their alleged ties to right-wing paramilitaries.

Witnesses said the mayor of Bolivar, Orlando Hoyos, was killed by the rebels as he tried to escape.

They said the other three mayors fled in a vehicle, but one of them - the mayor of Santa Rosa, Jaime Jair Zambrano - was found dead a few hours later.

The commander of Colombia's armed forces, General Jorge Enrique Mora, was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that Mr Zambrano was killed by members of a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Reports say that the body of Hoyos - who was one of the leaders of local resistance movement which tried to prevent rebel attacks - has not yet been recovered.

Leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and the government have been fighting each other for four decades in Colombia.

In the past decade alone, more than 35,000 people are believed to have been killed in the fighting.

At least 30 mayors and 60 town council members have been assassinated in the past three years, according to the Colombian Federation of Municipalities.

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