Colombia's FARC begin disarming

"I'm abandoning my rifle for a broom," said guerrilla Maritza Gonzalez at the FARC's hot, dusty camp in San Jose de Oriente, in northern Colombia.

Colombia's FARC begin disarming

World Bulletin / News Desk

Colombia's FARC  begin disarming Wednesday under a historic peace deal, beginning the delicate transition from guerrilla army to political party after more than half a century at war.

After weeks of mustering its troops at designated disarmament zones, the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, was set to begin an inventory of its weapons and destroying munitions under United Nations supervision.

Three armed guerrillas in combat fatigues guarded the entrance to the rudimentary camp, where a steady stream of trucks delivered bags of cement and workers scrambled to finish building a kitchen, mess hall, bathrooms and a laundry area.

Gonzalez, 54, has been a guerrilla since the age of 14. She said she was hopeful for the future and planned to reunite with her five brothers and four sisters.

"Let's hope this leads to peace," she said.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his efforts to end the country's 53-year conflict, called the disarmament "historic news for Colombians" in a tweet.

FARC leader Rodrigo "Timochenko" Londono tweeted that the leftist rebels were laying down their guns "with enthusiasm."

The disarmament of the country's largest guerrilla army will leave rival movement ELN -- currently engaged in rocky peace talks with the government -- as the only rebel group still waging a multi-sided war that has killed 260,000 people.

The Cold War-era conflict, which has also left 60,000 people missing and uprooted 6.9 million, is the last major armed conflict in the Americas.

Colombia, South America's third economy and the world's biggest cocaine producer, has been torn since the 1960s by fighting that has drawn in multiple leftist rebel groups, right-wing paramilitary units, drug cartels and the army.

Santos is hoping to seal a "complete peace" with both the FARC and the ELN.

Both leftist rebel groups took up arms against the government in 1964, in the aftermath of a crushed peasant uprising.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Mart 2017, 17:56
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