BOGOTA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- A Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) front commander gave himself up to authorities, the first such surrender by a senior rebel military officer in years, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Thursday.
"This is very important news, he is the 15th front leader this year to leave the war, 14 of them were shot down by security forces and for the first time in recent years, a front leader renounces," said Pinzon, referring to Rosember Jaramillo, nicknamed "Hector 44."
A FARC front includes combat, support and infrastructure elements and usually contains hundreds of fighters.
Two other FARC officers who also renounced their rebel identity along with Jaramillo are Elvis Gonzalez, the No. 5 operative heading the FARC's Manuel Beltran Front, and Nubia Guasca, a medic under Gonzalez.
Jaramillo, who had been an active member of the FARC for more than 15 years, "voluntarily gave himself in, because he realized there was no chance of taking power" and overthrowing the government, Pinzon said.
Other factors that led to Jaramillo's surrender were the FARC's increasing degeneration and growing association with drug trafficking, Pinzon said.
Winning over FARC officers has underlined the government's triumph in its battle against the rebel group, which also saw eight guerrilla members surrender in the southwestern province of Narino last Tuesday.
Jaramillo and his fellow fighters will enter the government's Demobilized Attention Program, designed to reintegrate former rebels into society.
According to Colombia's Defense Ministry, about 680 members of the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second largest leftist insurgent group, abandoned the armed movement this year.