Colombia’s army has accused the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla army, of breaching their own ceasefire which they had set for the week leading up to the presidential elections.
Members of the 36th front of the FARC allegedly tried to rob an energy tower in the rural municipality of Yarumal in central Colombia on Tuesday, reported local media.
The Colombian army accused the FARC of violating the ceasefire which started on 20 May for the presidential elections with a failed attempt to hijack the electrical infrastructure in the department of Antioquia.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night, only hours after the start of the truce, reported W Radio.
The military prevented the placement of explosives, triggering a battle with the guerrillas in which no casualties were reported.
The FARC and ELN jointly announced on May 16 that they would hold a unilateral ceasefire between May 20 and May 28 as a show of good will to the country and so that May 25′s presidential elections can run without any interference.
The 36th front of the FARC is a unit operating in the north central department of Antioquia and has already broken previous unilateral truces declared by the guerrillas on the occasion of the Christmas, 2012 and 2013.
A policemen was killed in an alleged guerrilla attack on Wednesday, the first day of an announced unilateral rebel ceasefire, in the first recorded breach of the unilateral ceasefire.
One conflict research group, the Center of Resources for the Analysis of Conflict (CERAC), has claimed that the incomplete compliance of ceasefires in the past was a result of the “disintegration” of formal FARC command structures, echoing reports from other conflict monitoring groups that the FARC central leadership is no longer in complete control of its various semi-independent blocs.
This is likely a result of United States-aided government offensives to hunt the rebels, which rely on communication intercepts and other tech-based tracking methods. Over the course of the past decade, the FARC has been forced to split into increasingly autonomous mobile command units so as to avoid government persecution.
This would explain the actions of the 36th front of the FARC acting the way it did, and breaking the terms of its own ceasefire.
Since peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC began in November 2012, the question of a bilateral ceasefire has been raised repeatedly.
The FARC has advocated for a suspension of hostilities, but the Colombian government has thus far refused to cease its offensive against the rebels.
During the previous attempt at peace talks in the lat 1990s, the FARC used the truce and buffer zone granted them by the administration of then-President Andres Pastrana to recruit troops and restrengthen their position.