Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, informed that the Government suspended the ceasefire in force with the Central General Staff of the dissidents of the former Armed and Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (EMC- FARC) after a massacre in the department of Putumayo (southwest) in which four children were killed.
“The bilateral ceasefire that currently existed with this armed group in the departments of El Meta, Caqueta, Guaviare, and Putumayo is suspended, and all offensive operations are reactivated,” states a government communiqué dated Sunday and released Monday by Petro.
The Government adds that these actions will be “carried out with respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law”.
The statement said the decision, which was taken unilaterally, will become effective in the next 72 hours.
The Executive indicates that it decided to suspend the truce with this organization after the massacre of four indigenous minors in Putumayo, who, according to local press reports, had been recruited and were killed when they tried to escape.
For the authorities, this is “an atrocious act that questions the will to build a peaceful country”.
For its part, the Carolina Ramirez front of the EMC-FARC stated in a communiqué that there had been failures on the part of the military forces.
At the same time, it warns that “the unilateral rupture will unleash war and will multiply the dead, wounded and prisoners, contrary to a total peace policy”, according to the local press.
The Government invited the EMC-FARC to ratify the participation of its delegates in the local mechanisms in which the cease-fire is still in force.
At the same time, it expressed that if the bilateral ceasefire is not effective in certain territories to protect the life and integrity of the whole population, “it does not make sense to persist in it”.
According to the communiqué, in the next hours, the members of the Government delegation for the peace talks with the EMC-FARC will be shared “to initiate in a peremptory manner the phase of dialogues”.
Petro decreed on December 31 a cease-fire with different armed actors, among them the dissidents of the former FARC, for a period of six months.
Colombia has been in an armed conflict for more than 50 years in which different actors have been involved, and several peace agreements have been signed.
The most recent was consolidated in 2016, when the FARC and the State, then governed by Santos (2010-2018), reached an agreement for the guerrillas to lay down their arms and their fighters to join civilian life.
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