Notorious Colombian rebel sentenced for attack

November 10, 2011 - 1:15 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Colombian rebel who gained notoriety for killing his sleeping commander, severing the man's hand and delivering it to authorities may now have reason for regrets.

The killer of Ivan Rios has been sentenced to 40 years for his role in a 1999 attack on the northwestern town of Narino, in which nine police and seven civilians were killed, the chief prosecutor's office announced Wednesday.

Pedro Pablo Montoya was convicted with four other rebels of terrorism, murder, rebellion and kidnapping, it said on its website.

Montoya, better known by his nom de guerre "Rojas," shot and killed Rios and his girlfriend while they slept, then delivered Rios' hand to the military on March 7, 2008.

Authorities had offered a $2.8 million reward for Rios and Rojas told the AP in a 2009 jailhouse interview that he received $420,000 of it. Authorities said the rest was divided among three other informants.

Rios belonged to the seven-member ruling secretariat of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, whose top leader Alfonso Cano was killed in combat last week.

March 2008 was a bad month the FARC. Its foreign minister, Raul Reyes, was killed at a camp just across the border in Ecuador in a military bombing raid that netted authorities a treasure trove of computer files.

And the FARC's co-founder and legendary leader, Manuel Marulanda, died of a heart attack.