FARC peace negotiators told Colombian media on Thursday that they do not have suffiicient information to comment on a series of high-profile murders and kidnappings that broke out earlier this week.
Alias “Ivan Marquez,” lead negotiator for the FARC — Colombia’s largest and oldest rebel group — in its ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government, eportedly said the FARC had some information concerning the murders of two police officers and kidnappings of five oil workers, but not enough to address publicly.
Marquez went on to reiterate the need for a bilateral ceasefire between guerrilla and government forces, a point the FARC has stressed repeatedly since before the start of peace talks in November 2012.
President Juan Manuel Santos and the Colombian government have rejected such a proposal, claiming the FARC would use any lull in the country’s 50-year armed conflict to fortify its armed capabilities, as it did in the previous attempted negotiations.
Continued aggressions between the two sides has led to tensions throughout the peace talks. Most recently, the FARC have come under heavy criticism for its perceived role in a string of violent incidents in line with the rebel organization’s past tactics.
Last Saturday two police officers were found murdered in the southwestern state of Nariño after earlier having been reported kidnapped. Colombian security officials have reportedly linked the murders to the FARC’s 29th Front, which is active in the region.
Then on Wednesday, five oil workers were kidnapped from a car in remote area in the central state of Meta were released. Some authorities have attributed this incident to the FARC’s 27th Front.
Though the attacks do fit with a traditional FARC tactic of targeting security and energy workers for kidnapping, the rebels have not admitted responsibility in either incident, nor has any evidence been presented against them.