The armed conflict between the Colombian government and the country’s leading guerrilla group FARC has intensified since the announcement of the peace process, the defense minister said Monday.
Juan Carlos Pinzon revealed how 50 rebels have been killed and another 60 captured after the decision to commence peace talks was made back in August 27.
Experts cite the main reason for the escalation in violence being the decision to commence talks without a ceasefire in place, while Pinzon reiterated the government’s steadfast stance on dealing with FARC rebels.
He said. “The order of the President has been clear; we cannot let our guard down even one millimeter.”
The Colombian government initiated a two-year war plan called Operation Sword of Honor in January in a joint effort with National Police, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture, public prosecutors and the Armed Forces to take down members of the FARC and other armed gangs.
The initiative has helped confront FARC rebels regulary with 16 criminals being captured, including several guerrillas, as recently as October 25.
Meanwhile another initiative named the ‘Green Heart Plan’, which outlines the strategies and tactics police need to follow when confronting crime, is being used by the security forces.
Pinzon added. “If the FARC do not understand the generosity of the President expressing the feeling of the Colombian people and of the majority of Colombia to one day live in peace finally, then there is a war plan named Sword of Honor in place and a Green Heart Plan scheme to combat them.”
Pinzon also added that the government would further strengthen its offensive with 25,000 more men, 20 helicopters and 10 aircraft added to its force over the next year.
Government officials and members of the FARC are currently in the midst of negotiations aiming at bringing an end to a conflict which has marred the country since 1964.