At least 70 FARC operatives demobilize thanks to the Army’s Jupiter Task Force

At least 70 FARC operatives demobilize thanks to the Army’s Jupiter Task Force

By Dialogo
September 10, 2014



Security initiatives by the Colombian National Army have prompted dozens of members of the terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to surrender and demobilize, military officials said.
At least 70 former FARC members have demobilized since the Jupiter Task force began operations in November, 2013, according to authorities. Most have turned themselves in to the Jupiter Task Force, military officials said. The Jupiter Task Force is part of the Sixth Division of the Army.
Efforts by the Army to encourage demobilization among members of FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are paying off.
“We keep inviting the guerrilla men and women who want to demobilize to take the step and to go to the closest military unit,” according to a statement from the Colombian Army. “There, your National Army will protect you so that you begin to take advantage of the opportunities and guarantees such as education, training, housing, food and a quiet life with your family.”
Outreach by Jupiter Task Force

Jupiter Task Force is reaching out to members of the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), encouraging them to demobilize and return to the civilian population.
The Army reaches out to FARC and ELN operatives through various methods, including TV and radio announcements and brochures.
“In Colombia, before the soccer games and other TV programs with high audience ratings there are government and Army ads inviting the guerrillas to demobilize,” Massé said. “These actions have had great impact and worked very well.”
These methods are proving effective in different parts of the country. For example, on Aug. 8, as the 13th Brigade of the Colombian Army was conducting operations in rural areas of the municipality of Facatativa, department of Cundinamarca, a man surrendered to them and told them he was running away from the 56 unit of the FARC.
The Army authorities placed him into the Program for the Attention of the Demobilized, which the government offers to all those who want to return to civil society.
Reintegrating battle-hardened members of the guerrilla groups into society is a top priority of the government, which in 2002 created the Agency for Reintegration under the Ministry of Defense. The Agency of Reintegration has helped more than 57,000 men and women demobilize from guerrilla organizations.
In 2013, more than 1,000 people voluntarily left the FARC, and about 300 deserted the ELN, according to Alejandro Eder, director of the Agency for Reintegration in Bogotá.
Reintegration can be challenging

For former FARC and ELN operatives to reintegrate into society successfully, they must have safety, a fair judicial process, and economic opportunities, Massé said.
And for many former FARC and ELN operatives, reintegrating into society means learning a new way of life, the security analyst said.
“Many of them were (with the FARC or the ELN) for 10 or 15 years and only know how to handle weapons,” Massé said. “They learned to read and write there and that’s not enough to have a successful reinsertion, and limits their economic options.”
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