News Worms
News Worms

Colombia takes big step to peace as rebels lay down guns

Colombia takes big step to peace as rebels lay down guns

FARC rebels reached an agreement with Colombia's government a year ago to give up their weapons and transition into a political party, but implementing that accord has been slow.

The UN said it has registered "7,132 weapons, except from those which, as established in the agreement, will remain to provide security for the 26 transitional camps of the FARC guerrillas" until August 1.

As part of the accord, numerous former rebels will avoid prison as they transition into civilian life, and FARC will transform itself into a political party.

Writing on Twitter, Santos said that "today, Colombia has the best news in 50 years: the FARC have left their weapons and words will be their only form of expression".

The monitors said they had also found and emptied 77 out of the Farc's 900 arms caches hidden around the countryside.

The government also has opened peace talks with the country's second rebel group, the National Liberation Army.

United Nations mission chief Jean Arnault, meanwhile, confirmed that 6,803 FARC fighters had turned in "the entirety of the FARC's registered individual arms" - a total of 7,132 weapons.

"Today, with emotion, we reach the end of this absurd war, which not only lasted more than five decades, but much worse: lasted more than eight million victims and more than 220,000 dead compatriots". Nearly every guerrilla at the Mariana Paez camp recalled the decade-long bloodletting that followed a previous attempt at peace in the 1980s, when as many 3,000 members of a FARC-aligned political party were gunned down by right-wing paramilitary assassins, sometimes in cahoots with state intelligence services.

The militant rebel group has been involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping and other illicit activity to fund its insurgency. That was blamed on a fringe extremist group, the Revolutionary People's Movement (MRP).

The move, part of a 2016 peace deal, is a key part of efforts to end the long territorial and ideological conflict.

He questioned why imprisoned rebels who were amnestied six months ago remain in jail and complained about the state of the Mariana Paez demobilization camp where the ceremony was taking place. "What's more important is we are witnessing step after step the willingness of the FARC to really demobilize and reintegrate and that should be reinforced by the state and government in fulfilling the promises and agreements signed".

The FARC launched its uprising in 1964 over land rights for poor rural communities.


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