Colombia's defense minister Diego Molano on Wednesday announced the "presumed death" of one of the main leaders of a dissident left-wing guerrilla group, killed earlier this month in Venezuela.

According to local media, Miguel Botache Santillana, known as "Kind Duarte," died on May 4 in an attack on his jungle camp.

The 59-year-old had been part of the peace process that brought to an end a half-century of conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the state.

But he was one of the first ex-FARC leaders to subsequently take up arms again after the 2016 peace deal was signed.

President Ivan Duque described the development as "great news" in a statement to journalists, adding that "all symbols of evil must disappear.

Molano told a press conference in Bogota that "intelligence sources reveal the presumed death of 'Kind Duarte' in the Venezuelan state of Zulia in a clash between... drug trafficking groups and terrorists."

Colombia's Defense Minister Diego Molano announces the "presumed death" of dissident guerilla leader Miguel Botache Santillana Colombia's Defense Minister Diego Molano announces the "presumed death" of dissident guerilla leader Miguel Botache Santillana Photo: COLOMBIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE via AFP

"If this is confirmed, it is one more proof that the (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro regime is protecting terrorist and drug trafficking groups on its soil."

Under conservative Duque, Colombia has often accused neighboring Venezuela of harboring rebels on its territory.

Since taking up arms again, Botache is believed to have been in charge of a group of around 1,700 fighters.

FARC dissidents operate without a central command -- there are around 5,200 fighters divided up into about 30 groups throughout the country.

They are mostly financed through drug trafficking and illegal mining.

Colombia's government had put up a reward of $1 million for Botache's head.