The leader of Colombia’s FARC rebels said Sunday that the military has carried out air strikes in spite of a suspension, contradicting observers who have claimed the army has not carried out any offensives.
In a press release published on the group’s peace delegation website, FARC leader “Timochenko” said that “after the suspension ordered by President [Juan Manuel] Santos, they have bombed us” on two occasions in the southern Putumayo province.
“Not to mention the series of ground provocations against our units in different regions of the country. Contrary to us, the government again doesn’t keep its word,” the FARC’s commander-in-chief said.
The FARC leader’s claims contradict observations made by the CERAC, a conflict monitoring think tank that has been monitoring both sides’ commitment to the deescalation of violence.
Local media have also not reported on the alleged military attacks.
In fact, the only registered breach reported by CERAC was carried out by the FARC on July 21 in the central Colombian municipality of Mesetas where members of the guerrillas’ 40th front allegedly attacked a military unit.
CERAC recorded five combat situations since July 20, all in the first week of the FARC’s unilateral ceasefire that later was reciprocated by a suspension of air strikes.
Also in the days before Santos’ announcement to suspend air strikes, the think tank reported no air strikes.
Following a short break, the two parties resumed talks on Monday to continue negotiations on transitional justice, one of the most thorny of issues since talks began in November 2012 and have so far resulted in agreements on rural reform, political participation and drug trafficking.
However, both the FARC and the state are facing thousands of war crime allegations and are trying to reach a compromise that should be in compliance with international humanitarian law.