Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC on Sunday denied having broken a unilateral ceasefire called at the beginning of peace talks with the government.
In a press release, the rebel delegation that has been formally negotiating peace with the government since Monday, said they have been in “full compliance” of their own truce and have not attacked state security forces as asserted by the army.
“No combat unit of the FARC-EP or the bolivarian militias operated in that area” on Tuesday when a group of soldiers allegedly was lured into a minefield that was subsequently detonated, injuring nobody, said the FARC delegation.
Instead, “it was a dangerous pantomime of the army that fortunately resulted in nothing major,” the guerrillas said.
The FARC responded to allegations from an army commander in the southwest of the country, who had claimed that two rebels in the rural municipality of Caloto, Cauca, detonated a minefield after luring soldiers to approach using white banners.
Following the alleged offensive, army commander General Alejandro Navas said “there is evidence of how they have failed to keep their word. A promise not made to the military forces as we have not made any agreement with them, but to the Colombian people.”
According to the FARC, the alleged attack is a false flag operation by the army aimed at discrediting the guerrilla organization.
“This strategy of coming up with media shows and televised false flags is an old habit of the army in the region. Because of this, neither the farmers nor the indigenous of Cauca give them a shred of credibility,” said the FARC.
The rebel group called on Colombia’s armed forces “and especially on the officers, the non-commissioned officers, soldiers and policemen to join the quest for a political solution to the conflict.”
Contrary to the government delegation led by former vice-President Humberto de la Calle, the FARC delegates have spoken to the press present in Cuba on a daily basis.
Following half a year of secret and informal talks between rebels and government representatives, the FARC and the Colombian government on Monday began formal peace talks, aimed at ending the country’s 48-year-old armed conflict.