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The Americas

9 Colombian soldiers killed since start of peace talks with rebels

Colombian authorities say at least four soldiers and a presumed rebel have been killed in the latest clashes between government troops and leftist rebels.

The deaths, in three incidents Monday in separate regions, brought to nine the number of soldiers killed since formal peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were inaugurated in Norway last Thursday.

Sixth Division commander Gen. German Giraldo said one rebel was killed and five captured in one of the clashes, outside Ipiales near the border with Ecuador. Three of the army deaths occurred in Arauca, which borders Venezuela.

The FARC favors a cease-fire during the talks but President Juan Manuel Santos has refused pending an accord.

The nearly five-decade-old conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives.