UN says 6 former FARC commanders missing, violating Colombia’s peace deal

(Image: United States Forces Korea)

Six former commanders of the group, until last last year Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, have fled their reintegration camps in recent weeks, the United Nations said Thursday.

The ex-rebels, who were responsible for 1,500 ex-combatants in four different camps, abandoned their duties and their current whereabouts is unknown.

Among the missing commanders is Luciano Marin, a.k.a. “Ivan Marquez,” the FARC’s political leader who fled in August allegedly hours before masked men entered his home in the southern Caqueta department.

Colombia goes quiet as the FARC’s most feared former guerrilla chiefs disappear

The special Territorial Training and Reintegration Spaces (ETCR) and a New Regrouping Point (NPR) camps were established after a historic 2016 peace deal between the Colombian government and the former guerrilla group.

The UN Verification Mission was established to oversee more than two dozen zones in Colombia where former fighters can take part in reintegration programs. The four camps in question are located in the southeastern part of the country.

“The six leaders are not fulfilling their obligation under Chapter 3.3 of the Final Peace Agreement that commits them to “actively contribute to guarantee the success of the reincorporation process,” the UN said in a statement.

Among the names cited by the UN are Hernan Dario Velasquez, who goes by the nom de guerre “El Paisa,” and Henry Castellanos a.k.a “Romaña.”

The other four commanders missing, and who go by their noms de guerre, are “Ivan Ali,” “Albeiro Cordoba,” “El Zarco Aldinever,” and “Enrique Marulanda,” the son of FARC founder “Manuel Marulanda,” according to news agency Reuters.

As part of the peace deal, the majority of the FARC’s former fighters were promised amnesty and financial assistance, but commanders and other war crime suspects are expected to be tried at a special tribunal for alleged war crimes and will serve alternative sentences if found guilty.

The reasons for the commanders disappearance is unknown but risks to their security from military operations in the area may have led to the men fleeing.

Last month, FARC Senator Victoria Sandino claimed that they left their camps as a result of a number of situations that have arisen in the past month when a number of pretty complex operations were carried out.

Colombia’s Defense Minister Guillermo Botero also denied knowledge of the commanders whereabouts, telling media that “we don’t know where Ivan Marquez and El Paisa are.”

The UN stressed the importance of the continuation of the reintegration camps to provide alternative modes of employment and opportunities for ex-fighters and their families.

President Ivan Duque and the FARC earlier this week asked the UN to extend the monitoring period of the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process that has been marred by violence and delays.

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