Colombian rebel group FARC agrees to release child soldiers

FARC has agreed to remove soldiers falling under the age of 15 from within its ranks as part of the peace talks with the government.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

FARC agrees to remove child soldiers from within its ranks.

Colombia'’s rebel group FARC and the government have come one step closer to signing a peace agreement as the former has agreed to release child soldiers from within its ranks.

In a statement issued in Cuba, which is hosting the peace talks, the parties representing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to remove soldiers falling under the age of 15 once the group finalises terms of the peace deal with the government.

The FARC and Colombia are already in the process of working on terms that may lead to a definitive ceasefire. An expected agreement on those terms could be a major breakthrough before a peace deal is finalised to put an end to Latin America’s longest civil war.

The terms would also cover ways and means to help the children become a productive part of society.

However, the two sides are still silent on how many minors would be released under the agreement by FARC.

Following this week’s positive developments in the ongoing peace talks, Colombian President Juan Manual Santos on Friday said they hoped to reach a permanent ceasefire with FARC ‘very soon.'

Last week, Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo said the talks had entered a final phase and added that there will also be a referendum on the agreement by September this year.

As many as 260,000 people have been killed and 45,000 are still missing in the Colombian conflict while 6.6 million people have been displaced so far.