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Dissidences maintain operations despite ceasefire: Ombudsman

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Dissidences maintain operations despite ceasefire: Ombudsman

The dissident FARC rebels maintain offensive operations in southwestern Colombia, despite having agreed to a six-month bilateral ceasefire with the government, the state body that watches over human rights reported Wednesday.

“Between January 1 and 20, 2020, the Ombudsman’s Office monitored and verified the occurrence of six (armed) actions that occurred after the decrees (…) of ceasefire were issued,” the entity said in a statement.

Five of these attacks “presumably would have involved dissident factions of the former Farc-EP”, which sidelined from the 2016 peace agreement and did not hand over their weapons like the bulk of the guerrillas.

The rest corresponds to “warning shots” by the Navy against “illegal armed groups” during a patrol in a rural area of ​​the port of Buenaventura.

On their side, the rebels harassed two police stations in the department of Cauca and are suspected of a failed attack with explosives against Vice President Francia Márquez. They also held four soldiers in two separate events and released them after a few days.

All the actions occurred in the southwest of the country, where the largest dissident faction of the peace pact – known as the Central General Staff (EMC) – concentrates a good part of its 2,000 armed men, according to the independent think tank Indepaz.

The Ombudsman’s Office asked the government “to issue the protocols establishing all the details related to the monitoring and verification process” of the ceasefire, which are not yet known.

Since January 1, a six-month ceasefire has been in force in Colombia between the government and various armed organizations, including the FARC dissidents.

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Although the ELN guerrilla – the last recognized one in the country – withdrew from the truce, the EMC, another dissident faction and the main drug trafficking organizations did accept it.

Questioned last week about the attack by the Central General Staff, Defense Minister Iván Velásquez issued a warning to the rebels:

“Either all the structures abide by the ceasefire, or the State will not be able to continue upholding this decision.”

Experts point out that the truce does not end the conflict in remote regions, where insurgents and drug traffickers are fighting each other to extend their territorial control and traffic cocaine.

Commanded by alias Iván Mordisco, the EMC of the FARC has expressed its interest in being part of “total peace”, the policy with which Petro intends to extinguish the prolonged armed conflict through dialogue.

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