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Colombian Troops Kill Dozen Members of Usuga Clan Crime Gang

FILE - Police officers stand behind a seized weapon at the police station in Necocli, Colombia, March 11, 2015. Gen. Ricardo Restrepo the commander of counter-narcotics police said that ammunition, weapons and about 170 kilograms of cocaine belonging to the "Los Usuga" criminal gang were seized in the rural town of Necocli, in Antioquia state.

Twelve members of Colombia's top crime gang, the Usuga Clan, were killed during a confrontation with the armed forces in the northwestern province of Antioquia, the defense minister said on Tuesday.

Troops confiscated arms and destroyed five encampments belonging to the group, which is allegedly involved in international drug trafficking, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told journalists.

The national police said that no government troops were injured.

The government has stepped up its offensive against the Usuga Clan in a bid to capture its leader Dario Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel. The United States is offering a $5 million reward for information on him.

Crime gangs, often comprised of ex-paramilitaries who did not demobilize during a peace process a decade ago, are considered the South American country's most challenging security threat.