President Ivan Duque says Euclides Espana alias Jhonier was killed in a clash with the military, calling it "one of the greatest blows" dealt to the FARC dissidents.

FARC rebel dissident Jhonier fell in an action by government forces in the municipality of Tacueyo, in the department of Cauca.
FARC rebel dissident Jhonier fell in an action by government forces in the municipality of Tacueyo, in the department of Cauca. (AFP)

The commander of a rebel splinter group that rejects a 2016 peace deal in Colombia has been killed in a clash with the military, the country's president said.

President Ivan Duque announced in a statement on Monday that Euclides Espana –– alias Jhonier –– had been "neutralised."

"This is one of the greatest blows that has been dealt [to] the FARC dissidents. And we are talking about a criminal with more than 25 years of murderous and criminal record," the president said in a public statement.

"FARC" refers to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which until 2016 had waged more than half a century of armed conflict against the state.

That year they signed a pact to end the fighting –– but dissident members of the group have splintered off.

Flare-up of violence

Jhonier, whose age has not been revealed, coordinated several of the dissident organisations that are commanded by 'Gentil Duarte' and 'Ivan Mordisco', two of Colombia's most wanted men.

Jhonier fell in an action by military troops with the support of the police in the municipality of Tacueyo, in the department of Cauca, the military said.

Colombia has seen a flare-up of violence in recent months due to fighting over territory and resources by the dissidents, the ELN rebel group, paramilitary forces and drug cartels.

In May last year, violence also marred anti-government protests that were brutally put down by police and soldiers.

More than 60 people were killed in weeks of clashes and a clampdown condemned by the United Nations, United States, European Union and international rights groups.

Source: AFP