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Colombia: Senior FARC Leaders Announce Resumption of Armed Struggle

Colombia: Senior FARC Leaders Announce Resumption of Armed Struggle”

Under the accord, rebels who confess their involvement in war crimes like the extortive kidnappings of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers will be spared jail time and protected from extradition to the U.S., which has charged the FARC's top leadership with cocaine trafficking.

"This criminal was dedicated to drug trafficking, kidnapping, the intimidation of social leaders and he was expected to be part of this threatening new group which yesterday presented itself to the country as a new rebel group - which it isn't because it's a narco-terrorist gang", he added.

President Ivan Duque, who sees the peace deal as being too lenient on the ex-rebels, has been accused of trying to undermine it.

Speaking to the press Thursday, Miguel Ceballos, the government's high commissioner to the peace process, said he and his team are entirely committed to the successful implementation of the deal, despite threats from the FARC.

The government's lead negotiator to the peace talks, Humberto de la Calle, said "we acknowledge that the vast majority of FARC men and women have complied with the pact, and we invite them to continue with the process of reincorporating into civilian life".

Appearing in a video posted online on Thursday, a former FARC commander - known by his pseudonym, Ivan Marquez - urged for a "new era of struggle" in Colombia, three years after the guerrilla faction laid down its arms in a historic peace deal with the government, which the Marquez accused Bogota of failing to uphold.

"It is the continuation of the guerrilla struggle in response to the state's betrayal of the Havana peace agreements", said Marquez. As part of the peace deal, the FARC renounced violence and founded a political party.

Rodrigo Londono, who had been the FARC's top military commander and now heads its legal political party, immediately distanced himself from his former comrades, with whom relations have been strained in the past year.

Duque rose to power previous year on a law and order platform opposing many aspects of the peace deal.

It has pointed to what it says are the murders of 140 former guerrillas, and 31 of their family members, since the agreement was signed.

"I have mixed feelings", said Londono, who is better known by his alias Timochenko.

In the video, Marquez read a manifesto rejecting the peace agreement and urging dissident FARC groups to align and find common cause with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's largest remaining militant group.

In the aftermath of the peace deal between the FARC and then-Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' administration, the former guerrillas have been threatened with extradition to the US for various drug trafficking crimes and many have been killed by paramilitary units in the country.

"It could hurt us", he said on Colombian radio.

"We must come down hard on deserters". "The battle for peace does not stop!" he tweeted.



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