The top leader of Colombia's main rebel group, the bookish ideologue Alfonso Cano, was killed Friday in a military bombing attack in the country's southwest, authorities said.

"The fingerprints matched," said one senior security official who confirmed the death, adding that Cano was killed in "a standard military operation" in Cauca state. The official spoke on condition he not be further identified.

Cano, the 53-year-old head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had been the top target of Colombian authorities since September 2010, when they killed the insurgency's military chief, Mono Jojoy, also in a bombing raid.

A $5 million dollar reward had been out for Cano, a Bogota intellectual who took command of Latin America's last remaining rebel army after the 2008 death of its co-founder, Manuel Marulanda.

The governor of Cauca state, Alberto Gonzalez, confirmed the death. His state has in recent months been a locus of stepped up FARC violence.

A second security official said Cano's body was being taken to Popayan, the Cauca state capital. The official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, had no further information.

A news conference was called late Friday at the Defense Ministry.