Colombia’s defense minister announced an offensive against FARC dissidents on Wednesday following the defection of five members from the Marxist guerrilla group earlier this week.
“Those who declare dissent from the FARC or simply become bandits because of the ambition of money, gold or dollars,” said Luis Carlos Villegas, according to local media.
“Gentil Duarte,” was a member of the FARC’s Central Command and a former negotiator in the talks that led to the November 12 deal to end the 52-year war.
“John 40” and three other mid-level FARC commanders also refused to disarm and demobilize, the FARC said on Tuesday.
“We are going to pursue them because the peace process is serious for those inside it, but the security forces are serious and powerful against those outside,” Villegas continued.
The Colombian military carried out a major offensive in central Colombia in August after the FARC’s 1st Front announced it would not take part in the peace process.
The FARC is currently going through its demobilization and disarmament process and should have fully concentrated its troops inside demobilization camps before December 31.
The announced desertions are likely not the last as both the police and independent conflict researchers have warned that other units with close ties to drug trafficking could also remain in arms.