Amid high insecurity, government withdraws weapons from FARC bodyguards

The FARC political party has criticised the Colombian government after documents showed that authorities have ordered weapons to be withdrawn from security details tasked with protecting FARC members.

The decision comes during a period of heightened insecurity for the FARC, with around 140 former guerrillas murdered since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016. At least 32 family members of former guerrillas have also been killed.

In a letter, the head of Colombia’s National Protection Unit, Pablo Elías González, told bodyguards to hand in certain types of arms, despite the high levels of violence against the FARC.

Sharing the letter on Twitter, FARC party leader Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timochenko, said ‘Who can explain, when threats and risks increase, the government decides to remove ALL the support arms from our security schemes?’.

Security details have until 13 September to submit their weapons. The stated reason for the order was to exercise more control over arms as, according to the letter, sometimes they are not handed in on time.

Last week, President Iván Duque offered rewards for the capture of FARC members who announced they are withdrawing from the peace process and rearming. They cited government failures to implement the peace process and the high levels of insecurity that have seen hundreds of social activists killed since the signing of the peace deal. In response, the FARC political party reaffirmed its commitment to the peace process.

In June, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Executions, Agnes Callamard, told the Colombian government to ‘stop inciting violence‘ against the FARC.