Conflicts & War

Gov’t suspends ceasefire with rebels over indigenous murders in Colombia

Bogota, May 22 (EFE).- The Colombian government partially suspended a ceasefire with a FARC dissident group on Monday after the murder of four indigenous minors who had been forcibly recruited by the rebels and tried to escape.

The National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (Opiac) reported the killings on Saturday.

In a statement, the government said the “atrocious” killings called into question the Central General Staff’s “will to build a country in peace”, and that the ceasefire agreed with the armed rebels in the departments of Meta, Caquetá, Guaviare and Putumayo has been “suspended and all offensive operations are reactivated,” adding that the measures would take effect within 72 hours.

“There is no justification for this kind of crime”, the government led by the left-wing Gustavo Petro – himself a former rebel – said, which amounts to a “serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

“If the ceasefire is not effective in certain territories to protect the life and integrity of the entire population, it does not make sense to persist with it,” the official statement added.

The Central General Staff (EMC), a dissident group affiliated with the former FARC guerrillas, warned that the government’s decision to partially suspend the bilateral ceasefire would “unleash war and will multiply the dead, wounded and prisoners, contrary to a policy of total peace.”

The EMC, led by “Ivan Mordisco,” who never signed the 2016 peace agreement with the government, also blamed the suspension of the ceasefire on US interference.

“The alleged government of change, which has not been seen more than in speeches and promises, continues in the practice of adopting US decisions with speed, as was shown by the presence of the US Southern Command in the security council on May 21, 2023, which concluded to officially and unilaterally break the ceasefire,” the statement said.

Petro met Sunday in Bogota with the head of the US Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, who is on a visit to the country this week to meet with national government officials and with the commanders of the Armed Forces. EFE


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