Killings of Colombia ex-FARC fighters persist amid peace process

Peace and Security

death threats and lost his son in a bloody murder.

Part of the now-defunct Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group, who signed a peace deal with the government of Juan Manuel Santos in 2016, Gonzalez, 54, lives in worry, not only for his own life but for the thousands of other former fighters who signed up to the agreement alongside him.

The FARC, who have been accused of serious war crimes, handed more than 7,000 weapons to a UN peace mission in 2017, ending a five-decade-long conflict that left 260,000 dead.

Since the deal, 253 former fighters have been killed, according to numbers compiled by the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ). It is unclear who the perpetrators are.

The current right-wing government of President Ivan Duque Marquez – which came to power in 2018 – has unsuccessfully fought to change the peace deal’s lenient punishments for former FARC fighters.

It blames dissident groups and drug gangs for the killings, while the ex-fighters blame state actors and paramilitary groups.

“They’ve killed four already this year, it’s very concerning,” said Gonzalez, who joined the rebel group in 1991, he says, out of necessity when paramilitary groups were taking control of the area where he lived.

Gonzalez is now based in Medellin and works as a coordinator for the FARC political party. He frequently travels to the various former rebel communities around the Antioquia region, where he says 27 have been killed.

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