FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono declares permanent ceasefire in Colombia

August 29, 2016 9:00 am

rebel leader speaks at a conference in Havana, Cuba, on August 28, 2016. ©AFP

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of (FARC) has announced a permanent ceasefire following a peace deal reached last week between the rebel group and the government.
FARC leader Rodrigo Londono said in the Cuban capital of Havana on Sunday that the fighters will cease hostilities from midnight local time (05:00 GMT Monday).
“Never again will parents be burying their sons and daughters killed in the war,” said Londono. “All rivalries and grudges will remain in the past.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also declared on Friday that the military would cease attacks on the FARC beginning Monday.
After four years of negotiations to put an end to the country’s five years of insurgency, the two sides eventually reached “a final, full and definitive accord … on ending the conflict and building a stable and enduring peace,” in Havana on Wednesday.
The Colombian president described the agreement as “the beginning of the end to the suffering, pain and tragedy of war.”

Colombians celebrate peace accord with the FARC rebel group on August 24, 2016, in the capital Bogota. ©AFP

The peace deal will be signed in the next few weeks and would be put to a vote in a national referendum in October for final approval.
After it was signed, FARC’s estimated 7,000 fighters will begin handing over their weapons to United Nations observers during six months and reintegrate into civilian life.
Under the deal, the rebel group will formally end its existence as a guerrilla army and transform into an unarmed political movement.
The rebel group, which took up weapons in 1964 to fight against deep economic and social inequalities, now controls large swathes of ’s third most-populous country. 
As many as 220,000 Colombians have been killed and more than 5 millions displaced in the conflict.
While some Colombians want punishment for the FARC, many others welcomed the peace deal and took to the streets in the capital Bogotá on Wednesday to celebrate it.
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