Colombia’s largest illegal armed group, the AGC, told Colombia Reports on Friday it is not the author of a pamphlet that announced a curfew and a “social cleansing” in areas formerly controlled by FARC guerrillas.
In an email, AGC spokesman “Raul Jaramillo” said that “obviously we are not the authors of such nonsense.”
The AGC-signed pamphlet appeared a week ago in multiple areas where for decades the FARC exercised territorial control. The Marxist guerrilla group is still in these areas, but in the process of demobilization, disarmament and reintegration in camps supervised by the United Nations.
In some of these areas, no AGC activity has ever been registered by independent conflict monitoring groups.
The AGC has publicly supported the peace process and has asked for inclusion, but without response from the government.
Since the FARC peace deal came in effect on December 1 last year, more than 31 community leaders and two unarmed FARC members have been assassinated.
In some former FARC territories, the army has allegedly been “slow” and “Inefficient” in effectively taking control of the guerrillas’ vast and often remote territory, which has resulted in a power vacuum.
Paramilitary groups, criminal gangs, guerrilla group ELN and FARC dissidents have been vying for control over the lucrative drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining activities abandoned by the FARC.
Additionally, it is possible that so-called “spoilers,” individuals or groups who feel they or their interests are threatened by the peace agreement, are trying to undermine the process, for example by attacking demobilized guerrillas or spreading disinformation.
During peace talks with the FARC, several threatening guerrilla pamphlets were distributed and subsequently rejected by the now-demobilizing guerrillas.
Colombia’s peace process is almost five months into what is supposed to be a 10-year process that includes major rural and political reforms to root out the causes of Colombia’s drug-fueled political violence.
In the coming year, a transitional justice tribunal and a truth commission will be set up to provide justice to the country’s 8 million victims. Many have yet to see justice for the hundreds of thousands of war crimes committed in the 52-year conflict.