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Published On: Sat, Jan 20th, 2018

Two FARC members killed during election campaign in northern Colombia

nsnbc : Two FARC members were killed during an election campaign event in Peque, Antioqua, in northwest Colombia. The two former guerrillas were murdered while taking part in the FARC’s first participation in elections since the formation of the now demobilized and disarmed FARC-EP in 1964.

36 FARC members and 13 family members killed since the signing of the December  2016 peace accord.

36 FARC members and 13 family members killed since the signing of the December 2016 peace accord.

The double homicide took part in the center of the town of Peque in Antioquia province at 11.00 p.m. on Tuesday. The killings come amidst growing concerns about a repetition of the massacres that were committed against thousands of members of the leftist Patriotic Union in the 1980s and 1990s. This wave of violence ended previous attempts of the FARC to enter peaceful politics and marked the beginning of the most violent period of Colombia’s civil war.

The United Nations Mission in Colombia issued a report in December 2017, stressing that since the peace accord between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government was signed in December 2016, more than 36 FARC members and 13 family members of former guerrillas have been killed.

The UN Verification Mission expressed its grave concerns the double homicide in Peque, stressing that this marks the first deadly attack against FARC members within the framework of the 2018 presidential electoral process.

While the Interior Ministry merely told the Reuters news agency that “It will be looking into the double homicide”, the UN called on Colombian authorities to “take the necessary measures to guarantee the free exercise of political rights during the election process.” The UN Mission in Colombia stressed that it will pay particular attention to the security assurances for all election candidates regardless of their political affiliation.

Rodrigo Londono a.k.a. Timoshenko.

Rodrigo Londono a.k.a. Timoshenko.

The FARC’s presidential candidate and ex FARC-EP military commander, Rodrigo Londono, stressed that members of his party have been “the target of constant persecution by armed actors that seek to destabilize the implementation of the peace accords.” The party called on authorities to “make a statement on the systematic assassination not just of our comrades, but also of [social] leaders and human rights defenders.”

FARC candidate Wilmar de Jesus Cartagena, for his part, said “We had an event with peasant communities in the municipality of Peque to promote our campaign, know the needs of the communities and make proposals to mitigate the region’s social problem in this municipality so forgotten by the State.” The two now murdered FARC members were campaigning for one of the former guerrillas’ candidates for the House of Representatives ahead of elections on March 11 this year.

CH/L – nsnbc 20.01.2018

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