By Dialogo March 28, 2012 Colombian troops killed at least 35 suspected FARC Marxist rebels and captured three more in an Army offensive in the east-central department of Meta, President Juan Manuel Santos said on March 26. Santos made the announcement in a meeting of his security council in Villavicencio, less than a week after troops killed 35 rebels in a gun battle with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The Colombian president praised the “very good results” of the army, and said two of those arrested in the operation were women. “The offensive is continuing and I would like to congratulate the armed forces,” Santos said. “The armed forces will continue and persevere, faithful to their instructions,” he added. The renewed violence follows FARC overtures -thus far deemed insufficient by the government- to make peace with Bogota. The FARC, Latin America’s last major insurgency, said through a mediator that it plans to start releasing 10 military hostages, under a pledge announced last month. The rebel group announced in February that it would release the six police officers and four soldiers it still holds and would end the practice of kidnapping for ransom. But the plan later stalled and has been pushed to April. The FARC has continued, however, to be active in clashes with army forces.