Columbia: FARC expels 5 commanders

Columbia: FARC expels 5 commanders

Columbia: FARC expels 5 commanders

Written by Tharushan Fernando

15 Dec, 2016 | 12:15 pm

Columbia’s FARC rebels expelled five commanders for refusing to join the peace process with the government and demobilize, according to guerrilla leadership.

The 5 commanders are all from units in the country’s southeastern jungle, including one former participant in four-year-long peace talks in Cuba.

Colombian Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas stated that dissenting commanders and their followers would be pursued in the interests of protecting the peace process.

“Those who are not part of the (peace) process. Those who declare their dissidence from the FARC or who simply become criminals for money, property, gold, dollars, pesos… let them go with them. Just like Mr. Duran, like John 40 and his other four accomplices. They are a high value objective. We will pursue them because the peace process is serious to those who are in it,” said Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas.

In July a First Front unit leader and some of his fighters left the group in protest of the deal.

The expelled commanders are the second group of rebels to declare their opposition to the peace deal .Law enforcement and military officials fear that some rebels will not demobilize and will instead keep control of lucrative coca-growing and cocaine-smuggling operations and joining the ranks of the country’s feared criminal gangs.

Luis Carlos Villegas“To these dissidents they need to be told that if they are criminals well then we will track them down with the full weight of the justice system. And if they declare themselves dissidents with political aspirations, they will be degraded to criminals and will face justice. There is no doubt of this within our armed forces,” Villegas charged.

 

 

 

Law enforcement and military officials fear that some rebels will not demobilize and will instead keep control of lucrative coca-growing and cocaine-smuggling operations and joining the ranks of the country’s feared criminal gangs.

“To these dissidents they need to be told that if they are criminals well then we will track them down with the full weight of the justice system. And if they declare themselves dissidents with political aspirations, they will be degraded to criminals and will face justice. There is no doubt of this within our armed forces,” Villegas charged.

A modified peace deal, which was put together after the first version was rejected in a public vote in October, has been signed by FARC leader, Rodrigo Londono and President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reach an accord. President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reach an accord.

The deal has been approved by Colombia’s Congress and some 7,000 rebels now have six months to move to demobilization zones and hand in all weapons.

 

Who is FARC?

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, FARC–EP and FARC) was a guerrilla movement involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict since 1964.

The rebel group has been known for its use of a variety of military tactics including more unconventional methods, including terrorism. The FARC-EP, which formed during the Cold War period as a Marxist–Leninist peasant force, promotes a political line of agrarianism and anti-imperialism

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