The Last March: Colombia’s Most Notorious Rebel Group is Starting to Disarm, but Obstacles to Peace Still Loom (E)
Colombia’s longest-running and deadliest insurgency took a major step toward its end this week, when thousands of guerrilla fighters ventured out of dense jungles and started heading to concentration zones around the country.
In all, roughly 6,300 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a left-wing group that has battled Colombia’s government for more than a half-century, will leave the battlefield for UN-organized camps where they will begin demobilizing and disarming.
Colombian government officials said earlier this week that 450 pickup trucks, 120 cargo trucks, 100 buses, 80 boats, 10 tractors, and 35 mules were required to facilitate the mass movement — journeys for some that could last 22 hours or more.
“The last march of the FARC has started,” Colombia’s office of the presidency said in a statement. “The first guerrillas set off this weekend [on] their path, rifle on shoulder, ready to exchange it for a life in legality, a life in democracy, a different life that contributes to the construction of peace.”
“This is an enormous operation,” Sergio Jaramillo, Colombia’s high commissioner for peace, told the press, according to the Miami Herald. “And the most important aspect is that … we haven’t had a single serious incident. There hasn’t been a single case of a member of the FARC not wanting to move.” Business Insider