FARC threaten to “unleash war” after Petro ends ceasefire

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Iván Mordisco (right) during the convention in Llanos de Yarí. Screenshot from CaracolTV.

The decision taken Monday by the government of President Gustavo Petro to end the ceasefire with the Estado Mayor Central – FARC dissidents threatens to return Colombia to levels of intimidation and violence by illegal armed groups not seen since the late 1990s.

The breakdown of a truce that had been reached six-months ago between the government and dissident group under command of alias “Iván Mordisco” came with confirmation from the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC) that four indigenous youngsters belonging to the Murui tribe were murdered by the armed group for having escaped their captors. The youngsters had been forcibly recruited by the Carolina Ramírez front of the EMC-FARC. The extrajudicial killings of the minors occurred on May 17, near the Caquetá and Amazonas border.

The OPIAC had petitioned the national government to “guarantee the security of children and adolescents with decent living conditions and “end the violence by different illegal armed groups who murder, displace, confine and forcibly recruit our indigenous companions.”

The FARC dissidents released a statement warning the Government of Gustavo Petro that the end of the bilateral ceasefire “will unleash war, multiplying the numbers of wounded, deaths, and prisoners.” The two-page letter contradicts the claims from OPIAC regarding the murders, stating: “The facts that we are accused of were never verified and we insist that in Caquetá, Meta and Guaviare there have been no combats of any kind, extortions or executions.” The 3,500-strong FARC dissidents also noted that the current government is the “least serious to negotiate with” and the end of the ceasefire “goes against the policy of “total peace”.

President Petro remarked Monday on Twitter that the execution of the four indigenous children constitutes an “inadmissible war crime, as is, forced recruitment.”

The country’s first leftist leader has ordered the Armed Forces resume military operations against EMC-FARC, 72-hours after the end of the ceasefire. The EMC-FARC dissidents operate in the Eastern departments of Meta and Guaviare, as well as Amazonian departments of Caquetá, Vaupés and Putumayo.