Colombia’s defense minister has issued a decree that allows the military to bomb groups formed by former FARC guerrillas, newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
Directive 37 includes the FARC dissident groups on a list of illegal armed groups that are considered a threat to national security, rather than common criminals.
The security forces are only authorized to use deadly force against a limited number of illegal armed groups, determined Organized Armed Groups (GOA).
Other, smaller armed groups are considered common criminal organizations that are a target for the National Police, not the military.
- EPL (Los Pelusos)
- AGC (Clan del Golfo)
- Bloque Meta (Los Puntilleros)
- Libertadores de Vichada (Los Puntilleros)
- FARC dissidents
Following a peace process with the FARC, authorities have identified more than a dozen dissident factions formed by between 500 and 1,000 former FARC members.
While most of these groups are tiny, the biggest of groups has grown to become approximately 350 men.
This directive gives us the legal backing so that the public force can use even the “beta operations” (aerial bombings) to prevent the expansion of these new organizations.
Anonymous military official via El Tiempo
The FARC dissident groups are primarily active in southern Colombia where state presence is weak and guerrillas’ rule has been law for decades.
This group kidnapped a United Nations worker earlier this year, just months after its leaders were kicked out of the FARC.
Colombian authorities are trying to prevent the resurgence of dissident factions formed by dissident former FARC members.
With the exception of the ELN, all the country’s GOAs are groups formed during peace processes. The EPL formerly demobilized in 1991.