Leftist rebels attacked an army patrol in southern Colombia on Saturday night, killing 14 soldiers who were lured into an ambush by intelligence reports warning of a guerrilla takeover of a remote hamlet, an army spokeswoman said.
The ambush took place near the town of La Julia, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital, in what has long been the cradle of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The spokeswoman, from army central command in Bogota, said there were initial reports of heavy casualties among the guerrillas. But since fighting was ongoing and communication with troops by satellite phone only, she was unable to provide further details.
Acting on intelligence reports warning of a guerrilla assault on the village of La Julia, a mobile army unit from the US-trained Omega Force was immediately deployed to the area, where they were surprised by the rebels, the spokeswoman said.