Colombian officials double estimate of FARC holdouts resisting disarmament

Colombian officials double estimate of FARC holdouts resisting disarmament
By Robert Hackwill
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Some 800 FARC fighters remain fully-armed and with illegal mining and cocaine production to support them, pose a threat to the peace deal, while criminals occupy areas vacated by former rebels.


Worrying signs in Colombia that more former FARC rebels are refusing to demobilise and instead are taking up, or ramping up coca cultivation. Other, criminal groups, are also moving into former FARC-controlled areas.

The ombudsman overseeing the peace process fears some 800 fighters, double the initial estimate, remain in the jungle, although 90% are rejoining society and have surrendered their weapons to the UN.

“Of course I’m worried about the dissidents. I’m also worried about new groups who are only dedicated to raising crops, buying coca leaves to do all the processes until they are able to sell it abroad,” said Carlos Alfonso Negret.

The dissidents are also engaged in illegal mining, and with revenue streams in the tens of millions up for grabs in gems along with cocaine, could remain outlaws and re-equip, prolonging the longest armed rebellion in South America.

Their former comrades have renounced violence and have formed a political party.

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