At least ten Colombian troops died and several more were injured in a clash with FARC rebel forces, leading to the government lifting a ban against air strikes, which had been in place since March. The government has already hit FARC positions, and by the sounds of it, will be ramping up its efforts against the leftist group.
Colombia: Government and FARC negotiations
FARC and government leaders had been negotiating under the auspices of a Cuban lead peace deal. FARC had previously declared a unilateral cease fire in December, and had promised to stop recruiting child soldiers. Government and FARC forces even managed to coordinate efforts to destroy land minds, thousands of which now litter the Colombian countryside.
Late Tuesday night, however, an attack was carried out that cost the lives of ten government soldiers and one FARC rebel. The government claims that FARC was behind the attack, and that it represents an end to the unilateral cease fire. The Colombian government is pushing forward, however, with peace negotiations, and has said that the attack only highlights the need to reach an agreement.
FARC has claimed that the attack is a result of government forces continuing to attack the guerrilla group. FARC’s cease fire was unilaterally declared, and FARC leaders allege that the government has continued to launch attacks against the group. As a result, hard-lined factions within FARC are growing restive.
Colombia – FARC: A History Of Leftist Violence
FARC was founded in 1964 and set out to found a Marxist style regime in Columbia. The group was initially established as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, though while the CCP has largely faded away, FARC has taken on a life of its own.
By the 1980s the Colombian Communist Party and FARC had essentially split, though the split wouldn’t become official until 1993. The CCP veered towards establishing a legitimate and legal political party, while FARC established itself as an armed, violent rebel group relying mostly on disenfranchised rural and indigenous communities.
FARC has essentially evolved into a terrorist group, and is recognized as such by the United States and other governments. The revolutionary group also engaged in drug dealing, kidnapping, and illegal mining to fund its operations. FARC is also known for essential conscripting minors and forcing them into combat.
In August of 2012 the Colombian government began to explore peace talks with FARC, with hopes of ending the conflict, which is estimated to have cost at least 220,000 lives as of 2013. Many of the casualties, however, were caused by paramilitary groups linked to the government.