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Published On: Sat, Mar 4th, 2017

FARC Disarmament Expected to Begin 2nd Week of March – Possibly

nsnbc : The disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -People’s Army (FARC-EP) is expected to be launched in the 2nd week of March after repeated delays. However, further delays may be expected due to issues with demobilization camps, safety, sanitary conditions and more.

FARC-EP disarmament_Colombia_Mar 2017The United Nations stated that it will not begin to receive weapons from FARC-EP guerrilla until some time during the second week of March 2017. Major General Javier Perez Aquino, who oversees and coordinates the disarmament of the FARC-EP on behalf of the UN, stressed that there have been several delays in the Colombian government’s preparation of FARC camps.

Perez said he expects that progress will be made next week. Main concerns are safety in demilitarization camps, especially safety for demobilizing FARC-EP guerrilla, safe-keeping of the weapons, sanitary conditions and other conditions in demobilization camps, among others. Perez said:

“We are in 26 zones that are very far from populated areas, with complexities of all types. … We are in a process of communicating, planning, and coordinating. If God permits, in the coming week we will be able to clarify where we are.”

Perez said the storage of weapons will only begin only after every weapon has been identified and registered by UN officials, a process which also will take several days. However, the “registration” issue is a minor issue. One of the major caused and causes delays in the disarmament and demobilization schedule is the fact that the Colombian government had hired unqualified firms to construct the camps.

Shortcomings, some of which are likely to have been caused by corruption, have delayed the entire demobilization process and increased tensions between all parties involved. Several independent observers compared the camps with “concentration or extermination camps” not worthy of being designated as “demobilization camps” after 52 years of war.

However, avoiding “hot potatoes” Perez focused on the “safe storage and registration” of the weapons when he said that until all of the areas are ready, 52 temporary storage containers would be dispersed to the 26 camps depending on the number of demobilized rebels per camp. Each container will be locked and monitored, and will hold 75 to 100 arms–a total capacity of 5,200 weapons for 6,900 guerrillas.

Understandably, most FARC guerrilla who have no decent camps or no camps at all to turn to will be reluctant to turn in their weapons. Independent observers in Colombia reported to nsnbc that those guerrilla will be delivering about 30% of their weapons for safekeeping / decommissioning. many if not most of these weapons will be more or less obsolete or defunct weapons. Genuine disarmament will proceed when appropriate conditions including safety, health, sanitary conditions and other can and will be met.

CH/L – nsnbc 04.03.2017

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