Colombia orders halt to air raids against FARC

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos announces halt to air raids against guerillas

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, ordered a halt to air raids against left-wing rebel group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) as part of a peace process to end the decades of conflict.

The Colombian government's move followed an unilateral ceasefire that was initiated by FARC on June 20 at midnight aiming to pursue de-escalation measures under the peace talks.

"This will mean fewer deaths, less suffering and fewer victims," President Santos said.

He also stressed that any further bombing raids will be with an explicit command from the president.

The Colombian government and rebel guerrilla groups - most notably the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels - have been maintaining an armed struggle since the early 1960s.

Decades of struggle between Colombian army and the leftist guerrilla groups caused the death of at least 220,000 people as well as displacements of hundreds of thousands inside Colombia.

Composed of Marxist rebels, the 8,000 member-strong FARC and the Colombian government have been in peace talks since November 2012, in order to put a stop to a 51-year civil war.

Following FARC’s announcements on July 8 they agreed on a one-month unilateral ceasefire. The government on July 12 agreed to reduce its attacks against rebels, the first time since the initiation of peace talks.

President Santos said if guerrillas do not stay true to their truce, the peace process will end for good.

The Colombian government suspended bomb attacks against guerrillas in March, but resumed after FARC breached its announced ceasefire, killing 10 soldiers.

The rebel group has been requesting a bilateral ceasefire, but the government insists it will only agree to it on the condition that an agreement is signed between the parties.

TRTWorld and agencies