A military operation against Colombian guerrilla group the FARC’s 32nd Front part of the Bloque Sur division has unearthed an illegal munitions factory in the country’s Putumayo department.
According to daily El Espectador, some 47 explosives were found, large enough to cause notable damage to the country’s infrastructure, oil and energy sectors. Nine 60mm grenades and one 40mm grenade were also found.
Some 200 anti-personnel landmines were also uncovered in the factory.
“Since July 20 the FARC have met with a unilateral ceasefire, but as the army we have to continue our military operations against any armed group which could affect the security of those living in Putumayo,” General Alberto Sepúlveda, involved in the operation commented.
The Colombian army have also found three illegal coca processing factories during previous operations in the Putumayo department.
Prizes for peace?
Latin America also remains a strong contender in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize awards, not forgetting that Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez was also a previous winner.
A model for other international peace talks, Colombia could be in a chance of winning the much coveted prize as talks between President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC have been ongoing since 2012.
The illegal drugs trade, land reform, transitional justice and politics still remain the top four points on the agenda, but with Santos sure that peace will finally be achieved during March 2016, the talks are a milestone in Colombia’s 60 years of internal armed conflict.
However, the reintegration of ex-combatants, an effective ceasefire and doubts expressed by Colombia’s civil population after some 600 days of negotiations could act against the nomination, International Policy Digest reports.
Political grumbles from ex-president Álvaro Uribe have been one of the biggest problems during the peace talks, as concerns over how ex-guerrilla leaders will be tried once peace is achieved continues to cause worries amongst Colombians, in particular those who were victims of the conflict.
U.S. embassador to Bogotá Ken Whitaker confirmed that it will be up to Colombia to decide how best to deal with demobilized FARC rebels guilty of having committed crimes.
“The decision as to whether to extradite any individual case will be up to Colombian government,” Whitaker commented.
Whitaker added that since 2002 around 2,000 Colombians have been extradited to the U.S., according to Semana magazine.
Under the deal reached on September 23, termed “historic” by Whitaker, rebels who have committed political crimes will be granted amnesty.
However, the FARC are continuing to vouch for the release of senior member Simon Trinidad, sentenced to 60 years in a U.S. jail after plotting to take three American citizens hostage, the BBC reports.
It is estimated that close to 220,000 people have been killed in Colombia since the internal conflict began in 1964.
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