Following the rupture of the unilateral ceasefire of the FARC on Friday, several military and guerrilla offensives cost the lives of at least two civilians, one policemen and on guerrilla. More than 350 people were displaced.
The FARC ended their five-month long bilateral ceasefire on Friday, after a military air strike on a camp in the Pacific state of Cauca that killed 26 guerrillas.
According to the United Nations, a military ground offensive and guerrilla counter attacks that followed the bombardment forced 288 indigenous to flee their homes and seek refuge in the town center of Guapi, the municipality where the air strike took place. The Ombudsman said later the number of refugees had grown to 352.
Local authorities, with the help of the Red Cross and the UN, have been attending the refugees.
The killing returns
The resumption of mutual attacks cost the lives of four in several parts of the country after months of relative calm.
Two members of the community council of Las Delicias, a township in the southern Caqueta province were killed when the army attacked a FARC unit who lost a commander in the attack. Two other civilians were severely injured, local media reported.
The 18 members of the council reportedly were meeting with the the local FARC unit about a pending extortion payment when the army attacked. The civilians subsequently found themselves caught in the crossfire.
According to one of the injured, the army carried our the attack in spite of warnings that a large number of civilians were present at the scene.
In the southwestern municipality of Tumaco, one policeman was killed and two more were injured when alleged FARC guerrillas attacked a police patrol with grenades near an oil plant late Saturday evening.
Policeman Iber Fernando Narvaez, 22, was killed. His two colleagues were severely injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
Back in Caqueta, one soldier was killed in combat with the FARC.
The sudden resumption of violence followed a series of violent attacks from both the FARC and the army that undid attempts to deescalate the armed conflict while peace negotiations between the rebels and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos are ongoing in Havana, Cuba.
In December, the FARC announced to uphold a unilateral truce, saying it would refrain from carrying out attacks and only use violence in the case of an attack on one of their units. Months later, Santos reciprocated and announced a suspension of air strikes against the guerrillas.
While critics of the FARC truce have consistently stressed that the guerrilla group continued to carry out criminal activity during the truce, the guerrillas clearly violated their own ceasefire in April when killing 11 soldiers in a surprise attack in Cauca.
Because of discrepancies between the army’s account of events and those of locals, Colombia’s Prosecutor General opened a disciplinary investigation against nine members of the battalion that was attacked, including two of its commanders.
Following the FARC attack, Santos ordered a resumption of air strikes, one of which resulted in the death of the 26 guerrillas belonging to the 29th Front.
The FARC, that has consistently been calling for a bilateral truce for the duration of the peace talks, subsequently suspended their own truce and resumed offensive operations.
Peace talks continue
While the war on the ground continues, so do the peace talks.
The talks have have so far resulted in partial agreements on rural reform, political participation and the FARC’s abandoning of drug trafficking, one of the rebels’ main sources of revenue to fund the war they declared in 1964.
Peace delegates of the FARC and the Santos administration are currently negotiating how to compensate the approximately 7 million victims, transitional justice for perpetrators of war crimes and the final end of the conflict, which would include a bilateral ceasefire and the eventual demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of the FARC’s approximately 8,000 armed and 12,000 unarmed members.
If the talks are successful they will put an end to more than 50 years of violence between the FARC and the Colombian state that has killed nearly 300,000 Colombians.
Press release United Nations’ Colombia Office