- Title: Reaction after Colombia's FARC dissidents say will launch new offensive
- Date: 29th August 2019
- Summary: SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUAN, COLOMBIA (FILE - 2000) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF GUERRILLA FIGHTERS IN FORMATION CELEBRATING FARC HAVANA, CUBA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FARC NEGOTIATING TEAM ARRIVING AT PEACE TALK SESSION YARI PLAINS, COLOMBIA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 17, 2016) (REUTERS) FARC COMMANDERS ON STAGE VARIOUS OF GUERRILLAS SINGING THE FARC ANTHEM
- Embargoed: 12th September 2019 17:07
- Keywords: FARC peace rebels new offensive Colombia dissident leader arms peace deal
- Location: BOGOTA/ MITU/ SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUAN, YARI PLAINS, GUAYABETAL, COLOMBIA / INTERNET / HAVANA, CUBA
- City: BOGOTA/ MITU/ SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUAN, YARI PLAINS, GUAYABETAL, COLOMBIA / INTERNET / HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA009AU9V9S7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES IN SHOT #14
Colombians reacted to news a group of former rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said in a video posted overnight that it will launch a new offensive, threatening to resume their five decades of armed conflict in the South American nation.
Two former commanders from the group, known by their aliases Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich, appear in the 32-minute YouTube video announcement of the offensive, which comes three years after the FARC signed a peace deal with the government.
Marquez was a key negotiator of the peace agreement signed in 2016. He went missing last year after his nephew was arrested and taken to the United States to cooperate with drug-trafficking investigators.
The announcement, which Marquez said was filmed in Colombia's Amazon, comes amid severe challenges for the complex accord, including the murder of hundreds of former rebels and human rights activists, delays in funding for economic efforts by ex-combatants, and deep political polarization.
Former FARC commander Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, said on Twitter the "great majority" of ex-FARC fighters remain committed to peace "despite all the difficulties and dangers."
Londono is now a leader within the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, the FARC political party born out of the peace accord.
The dissident group will seek to coordinate with fellow leftist rebels the National Liberation Army (ELN), Marquez said, and will not use kidnapping and ransom as a source of financing.
Some 13,000 FARC members, including 7,000 combatants, demobilized under the 2016 accord signed in Cuba, many joining reintegration efforts or returning home to their families.
Others remained armed or formed new units, continuing lucrative drug trafficking, illegal mining activities or attacks on the military.
Many active rebels are believed to base themselves in neighboring Venezuela. Last month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said both Marquez and Santrich were welcome in his country.
Santrich, whose birth name is Seuxis Pausias Hernandez, is wanted in extradition by the United States for alleged conspiracy to export 10 tonnes of cocaine.
The commander Hernan Dario Velasquez, who goes by the alias "El Paisa," also appears in the video.
More than 260,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during Colombia's conflict between the government, rebel groups, crime gangs and right-wing paramilitaries.
(Production: Javier Andres Rojas, Camilo Cohecha)
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