The FARC announced Monday it has included Dutch rebel Tanja Nijmeijer as a last-minute addition to the team negotiating peace with Colombia’s government.
Nijmeijer, a Dutch citizen, was added to the negotiating team supposedly to assist with translation. However, her presence is reportedly not to have been looked well upon by the Colombian government because Nijemeijer is not a Colombian national. FARC defended the decision saying that she has been part of the group for a decade.
Nijmeijer arrived in Colombia in 1998 with the intention of working as an English teacher. Four years later she joined guerrilla group FARC and was sent “up the mountain” to commence work for the rebels.
Nijmeijer is believed to have served as personal assistant to “Mono Jojoy,” a top FARC commander who was killed in a 2010 government raid on his hideout. In May 2011, it was reported that Nijmeijer took part in a bombing that led to the death of a young child.
Nijmeijer’s situation generated international attention with her mother and sister making trips to Colombia in an attempt to get her out of the jungle.
Negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government were set to begin in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on Monday, yet no one has actually reached the capital thus far, and now are expected to arrive Tuesday.
A press conference is expected to be held on Wednesday to inaugurate the peace process, which will then move to Havana, Cuba. The government and FARC secretly began peace talks in February.