The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has suspended the truce with the Central General Staff, the main dissident group of the FARC, in four of the most conflictive regions of the country. This decision came after the murder of four indigenous minors at the hands of the rebels. Petro announced the suspension of the bilateral cessation in the departments of Meta, Caquetá, Guaviare, and Putumayo and declared that all offensive operations would resume in these areas.
Although the ceasefire continues in other areas, these four regions of southern Colombia are guerrilla strongholds and are believed to be home to rebel leaders and production sites for large amounts of cocaine.
The minors from the Murui community had been forcibly recruited by the rebels, who broke away from the peace agreement that disarmed the FARC in 2017. The murder of the minors occurred on the border between the departments of Caquetá and Amazonas at the hands of Carolina Ramrez, belonging to the Central General Staff of the FARC, the most powerful dissident group.
President Petro described the event as atrocious and questioned the will to build a country in peace. The Central General Staff, led by Iván Mordisco, is one of the illegal armed groups with which Petro seeks to negotiate and agree on disarmament in his “Total Peace” policy.
Although Petro has expressed his intention to dialogue, truces with other illegal armed groups, such as the ELN and the Clan del Golfo, have already failed. The governor of Meta celebrated the decision to suspend the truce with the dissidents and mentioned other crimes committed by the group.
The Central General Staff harshly criticized the government and warned that a unilateral break would unleash the war and increase casualties. In addition, they demanded that the president draw up a peace policy without improvisations or breaches.
Petro’s peace and security strategy has been criticized by the opposition, which questions the ability of the military forces and the president to resist pressure from illegal groups.
With the suspension of the ceasefire with the Central General Staff, the ELN, and the Clan del Golfo, Petro only maintains the truces with the Segunda Marquetalia, another dissident faction led by Iván Márquez, and the Self-Defense Forces of the Sierra Nevada, a group of Santa Marta paramilitary.
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