Ceasefire between FARC and Government formalised
The leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC), Timoleón Jiménez (known as Timochenko) has ordered his forces to lay down their arms in a formal ceasefire with the Colombian armed forces as of midnight tonight local time (Monday 29th August).
In his statement the FARC leader said “In my capacity as commander of the FARC’s Central Command I order all our commanders, all our units and each and every one of our fighters to cease fire and end hostilities against the Colombian state.”
Although the ceasefire had started on 23rd June, the announcement yesterday makes it official and effectively ends 52 years of conflict between the group and the state. President Manuel Santos had made a similar statement on Friday saying that the military would end all attacks on FARC as of Monday midnight.
Negotiations began between the Colombian government and FARC in September 2012, with most of the talks taking place in Havana, Cuba. A final agreement was announced on 24th August this year and the agreement to end the conflict will go to a referendum on 2nd October this year. Although the referendum looks straightforward there is strong feeling against FARC in the country. Many people feel that the government has given too many concessions including lenient sentences towards those FARC leaders who confess to crimes. One opinion poll suggested that FARC leaders should be made to pay for their crimes with 84% in favour of punishment. Another poll suggests that 70% will vote in favour of the peace deal.
The 52 year conflict is believed to have taken the lives of around 230,000 people and displaced more than six million people.