A faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on Wednesday that it will not disarm and demobilize despite the recent deal the guerilla group’s leaders and the Colombian government signed agreeing to a bilateral and indefinite ceasefire. The statement was the unit’s first public pronouncement against a peace process that seeks to put an end to more than five decades of armed conflict in the country.
The rebels say the deal fails to address the economic and social problems that led to the beginning of the conflict in 1964
The Armando Ríos Front, 200 rebel soldiers operating in Guaviare (Southeast Colombia) who held ex-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt captive between 2002 and 2008, have rejected the peace deal, arguing that it fails to address the economic and social problems that led to the beginning of the conflict in 1964. The announcement comes two weeks after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, known as Timochenko, agreed to the ceasefire after three years of negotiations.
Santos has responded swiftly and firmly to the First Front’s message, warning them that he will order the Colombian army to pursue them if they fail to disarm. “If anyone who has any doubt, it is best for them to set it aside and accept [the peace agreement] because it is the last opportunity they have to change their lives, because otherwise they will end up, I assure you, in a grave or in prison,” Santos said in a speech in El Retorno, Guaviare, near the territory where the Armando Ríos presence is strongest.
English version by Dyane Jean François.