World

Colombia’s FARC rebels launch some youngster troopers

FARC rebels freed 13 minors from their ranks as a part of a deal that might see the tip of the 52-year civil struggle that has claimed 220,000 lives, in accordance with the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross, which acquired the youths.

The ICRC already turned over eight of the youngsters to UNICEF Colombia, which mentioned they had been in good well being.

“The women and boys had been acquired in institutions appropriate for the method of reestablishment of their rights,” the group mentioned, “in order that they can develop in the most effective situations attainable.”

The ICRC mentioned the 5 remaining minors may also be handed over to UNICEF Colombia.

Neither UNICEF nor the ICRC recognized the youngsters, saying that “discretion is vital to the success of such missions,” that are anticipated to proceed underneath a treaty between FARC and the Colombian authorities.

For many years, the rebels have pressured kids to turn into troopers, coaching them as guerrillas to put mines and combat.

In some circumstances, minors have been kidnapped. However different minors, significantly those that stay in distant, marginalized and impoverished areas of Colombia, have been lured into the group by the prospect of meals and shelter, in accordance with Natalie Springer, creator of a 2012 research known as “Like Lambs Among Wolves.

FARC guerrillas march in a military parade in San Vincente, Colombia, in 2001. 
FARC guerrillas march in a military parade in San Vincente, Colombia, in 2001.

Historic peace deal within the playing cards?

The kids’s launch follows Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ announcement last month that he’ll signal a historic peace take care of the rebels on September 26 within the colonial metropolis of Cartagena.

The signing comes forward of an October 2 referendum vote that can permit the nation to resolve whether or not to simply accept the settlement reached with the FARC after nearly 4 years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba. FARC is a Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

It isn’t the primary time there’s been an try at a peace deal, with earlier truces between the teams falling apart in 1990 and 2002.

Whereas tons of of Colombians celebrated the most recent agreement within the capital, Bogota, some agreed with opposition complaints that the Havana deal fell quick.

Little one troopers do ‘the soiled work’

A young girl watches as a  FARC fighter stands guard in Los Pozos during peace talks in 2001.A young girl watches as a  FARC fighter stands guard in Los Pozos during peace talks in 2001.

FARC rebels have recruited tens of 1000’s of youngsters to do “their soiled work” through the years, in accordance with Springer’s study on the guerrillas.

“They’re putting in landmines, they’re transporting explosives, they’re kidnapping, they’re concerned in all the actions that the adults are doing,” Springer mentioned in an interview 4 years in the past.

Virtually 70% of these captured are 14 or youthful, with some as younger as eight, she mentioned.

Colombian girl Sara Morales mentioned she was a younger woman when the primary guerrilla group forcibly recruited her.

“After I was solely 11 years outdated, I used to be raped by FARC guerrillas, and for 11 years I used to be abused and exploited by them,” Morales mentioned in 2012.

“We had been a bunch of 300 kids, and solely 12 of us had been fortunate sufficient to outlive.”

A short historical past of the struggle

A mother holds a photo of her kidnapped son at a demonstration in Bogota in 2001. A mother holds a photo of her kidnapped son at a demonstration in Bogota in 2001.

The devastating struggle started in 1964 after the success of the Cuban revolution, with the rebels wanting to make use of pressure to redistribute wealth.

Colombia’s long, bumpy road to peace

Within the a long time since, the armed group has seized territory, attacked authorities forces and interfered with political life by high-profile kidnappings.

The rebels hijacked a industrial airliner to kidnap a senator in 2002, considered one of no less than three passenger airplane hijackings within the early a part of this century.

Politician Ingrid Betancourt was held hostage deep in the Colombian jungle for six years.Politician Ingrid Betancourt was held hostage deep in the Colombian jungle for six years.

Among the many group’s most infamous feats was the 2002 capture of presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was held deep within the jungle for six years earlier than a Colombian navy operation rescued her.

FARC additionally turned to the drug commerce, making hundreds of thousands from trafficking in cocaine. Each the USA and European Union designated it as a terrorist group.

The insurgency has displaced as many as 5 million folks — a couple of out of each 10 Colombians.