Indigenous Embera Katio on Wednesday celebrated the demobilization of
32 tribe members from the FARC. The men were reintegrated into the
community with a series of rites and ceremonies.
Dressed in white shirts and with traditionally painted faces, the 32 former guerrillas were “cleaned from the war” in a holy bath of purification and a pledge to Mother Nature. “We had to make a spiritual cleansing with them because for us it was a liberation for our brothers. They were rescued from the guerrillas and now return for their rehabilitation,” senior advisor of the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia, William Carupia, told local media.
Some of the demobilized indigenous were fighting for the FARC’s 34 front in the west of Antioquia for more than a decade. Carlos (name changed) spent 18 years with the rebels. He joined the guerrillas when he was 17-years-old because he wanted to revenge his brother’s murder by paramilitaries. Tired of the war, Carlos returned to his home in March. “I went for revenge but there was nothing good,” Carlos said.
The other 31 men escaped from the FARC between January and July this year. Since then they have been protected by indigenous communities.
For the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia this “liberation” is the first step in its goal to rescue dozens of indigenous who fight for illegal groups and to help them in their decision to stay out of the conflict.