Colombia

Colombian government: Guerrillas honoring unilateral ceasefire

Part of the 9,517 weapons seized from the FARC and ELN guerrillas criminal gangs and organized crime are seen before being meltedon November 25, 2014 in Sogamoso, Boyaca department, Colombia.
Part of the 9,517 weapons seized from the FARC and ELN guerrillas criminal gangs and organized crime are seen before being meltedon November 25, 2014 in Sogamoso, Boyaca department, Colombia. AFP/Getty Images

Colombia’s largest guerrilla group is standing by the unilateral ceasefire it announced 30 days ago, bolstering ongoing peace talks that aim to put an end to the country’s half-century civil conflict, the government said.

Despite three skirmishes with the military, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have not been involved in offensive attacks “that could be considered a break or violation of the cease fire,” the Public Defender’s office said Tuesday.

The FARC, considered a terrorist group by the United States and Colombia, declared an indefinite ceasefire on Dec. 20. While the government did not reciprocate, President Juan Manuel Santos has suggested that a bilateral ceasefire might be in the works.

“During the last 30 days there has been a substantial reduction in harassment and armed attacks against the armed forces, communities, electrical and petroleum infrastructure and roads,” the Public Defender’s office said.

Even so, three skirmishes in the last month left two guerrillas and one soldier dead, the office said. There were also two homicides and five injured by landmines during the period but the office said they could not be directly attributed to FARC offensives.

The news comes as Colombia saw its homicides drop 7 percent in 2014. Government and guerrilla negotiators will resume peace talks in Cuba on Feb. 2.

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