Two members of Colombia’s security forces have been arrested on suspicion of helping Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC, organize a week long shutdown of western Colombia’s roads, local media reported Thursday.
According to a judge in the western Choco department, the soldier and the policeman actively aided the FARC by distributing pamphlets informing the local population of the “armed strike” which paralyzed traffic to and from Choco for seven days.
BACKGROUND: FARC shuts down western Colombia
The two members of Colombia’s security forces were taken to a local prison in Choco’s capital Quibdo on Tuesday, accused of rebellion and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.
Authorities also reported the arrest of three suspected FARC militia members accused of participating in the strike.
The FARC rebels originally announced that the strike would be held from February 1 to February 20, but decided to end the strike prematurely on February 7, according to a statement on the rebel homepage.
BACKGROUND: West Colombia shutdown ends Saturday: FARC
FARC rebels have claimed that they launched the strike in order to show the Colombian people that “the abandonment and humanitarian crisis which engulfing the region is due to the exploitation […] and corruption generated by the State,” according to a statement from the FARC’s Ivan Rios Bloc.
Choco is Colombia’s most economically vulnerable department, with more than 50% of the population living below the poverty line.