Bogota, Colombia. Today sees a long awaited surrender of rebel held arms in violence plagued Colombia, a nation who has waited a very long time for this day.
A South American war may be coming to an end as Farc rebels in Colombia say they have handed over 30% of their arms to United Nations (UN) monitors, under the terms of last year’s peace agreement.
The Colombian militant groups weapons are to be stored at 26 locations around the country, under the United Nations negotiated agreement. After five decades of war and years of negotiations, the government and the country’s biggest rebel group sealed the agreement last year.
An arsenal of over 7,000 rifles and pistols are to be handed over before the Farc, also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, can become a legal political party, similar to the Irish Republican Army or IRA experience in Northern Ireland. Farc rebels have until 20 June to hand over all their weapons, a deadline that was extended from an original date of 30 May.
This has been one of the most awaited moments of the implementation of the peace process in Colombia.The Farc leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, who is better known as Timochenko, announced the handover on social media as Colombian government sources and the UN confirmed that the weapons had been surrendered.
As the weapons are put away, the real battle starts as the FARC rebels convert their battlefield political capital into power directly with Colombian voters in future elections.The decades long conflict between rebel groups, state forces, paramilitaries and drug gangs killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than seven million.