Colombia Kills 10 FARC Dissident Rebels in Military Strike in Guaviare Jungle
Colombia’s military has killed 10 FARC guerrillas and wounded 3 others in a strike against a base belonging to a group of dissident insurgents defying the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the long-standing rebel movement.
In 2016, FARC (FARC-EP, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army) and Colombia’s government signed a peace pact ending a 52-year-long civil war. FARC then disarmed in 2017.
However, a group of FARC dissenters has rejected the 2016 peace deal, and has continued to fight the central government in Bogota.
The announcement about the “neutralization” of 13 FARC dissident insurgents in the jungle base in the Calamar municipal area in the Guaviare province in Southern Colombia on Tuesday came from official sources. It, however, did not specify when the strike happened.
Colombia’s Defense Minister Diego Molano announced on Twitter the military bombing had “neutralized” 13 FARC dissidents under the command of a man who goes by the alias “Gentil Duarte.”
Of the 13 “neutralized” FARC guerrillas, 10 died and 3 were wounded, according to an unnamed Colombian source cited by AFP and France24.
The bombing was conducted in the municipal area of Calamar which is still an area of operation for FARC dissidents.
“These narco-criminals are responsible for the recruitment of minors, attacks against our public forces, kidnapping and illegal mining,” said Colombia’s Defense Minister Molano.
He stated further that the government would “not rest” until it found Gentil Duarte, who is one of the most wanted rebel commanders in Colombia.
Last week, Colombia launched a 7,000-strong elite force to fight rebels financed by drug trafficking and other illegal activities, namely, the ELN, which is the last active guerrilla group in Colombia, as well as ex-FARC dissident rebels and drug gangs.
Colombia is still struggling with its domestic armed conflict involving leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug-traffickers over cocaine and illegal mineral extraction.
In December 2020, the UN said the Colombian government had killed 244 former FARC fighters since the signing of the peace accords in 2016.
FARC (FARC-EP, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army) has been the major guerrilla movement involved in the Colombian armed conflict raging since 1964.
It was formed during the Cold War as a Marxist-Leninist peasant force as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party. It has funded its activities through kidnaping and ransom, drug production, drug trafficking, extortion, and illegal mining.
In 2007, it said it had 18,000 men and women under arms. Its forces have been mostly concentrated in the jungles in Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest Colombia.
FARC has been classified as a terrorist organization by the governments of Colombia, the United States, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and the European Union.
FARC arose in May 1964 from a peasants’ revolt, and its ranks were made up mostly of country-dwellers who rallied behind the group’s Marxist-Leninist ideology, with land reform its key demand.
The conflict between FARC and the Colombian government left behind a quarter of a million dead, some 60,000 missing, and seven million displaced.
In June 2016, FARC signed a ceasefire accord with Colombia’s then President, Juan Manuel Santos, in Havana.
In August 2016, Santos announced that a peace deal with FARC had been secured after four years of negotiations. The deal was put to a referendum in October 2016, which failed to approve it with 50.24% voting against.
However, in November 2016, FARC and the Colombian government signed a revised peace deal which was adopted by the Colombian Congress that same month. As per the agreement, FARC ceased to be an armed group as of June 27, 2017. FARC surrendered its last weapons in August 2017.
About 13,000 FARC members have demobilized under the 2016 peace agreement with Colombia’s central government.
The FARC dissenters continuing to wage war on Bogota are estimated to number about 2,500. Among them are high-profile leaders Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich, who at first were in favor of the peace deal.
Ivan Dikov, the founder of HeartlandHinterland.com, is the author of the book Ugly Bargain: How the European Union and Bulgaria’s Post-Communist Oligarchy Fit Together, among other books.