Colombia Marks Least Violent Months in More than 30 Years

Colombia Marks Least Violent Months in More than 30 Years

By Dialogo
October 22, 2015

Great information thanks I do not agree with what those criminal groups do. We in Colombia would have a much more pleasant country if it weren't for that scourge.

Conflict de-escalation measures agreed to by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have yielded the two least violent months in more than 30 years, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Center (CERAC), a Bogotá-based think tank that monitors the country’s levels of bloodshed.

The FARC's ceasefire and Colombia's drawdown began on July 20, when the government ceased airstrikes against the terrorist group. Since then, violent actions by the FARC have decreased dramatically – from 131 attacks in June and July to only four in August and September, according to CERAC Director Jorge Restrepo. Those six weeks from mid-August to the end of September were, in fact, the least violent in decades: authorities recorded the fewest conflict-related victims for a similar period of time since 1984, according to the CERAC.

“This was a negotiated agreement and it has been much more effective [than the FARC’s previous ceasefire], for it has led to a reduction of violence from both the FARC and the government,” Restrepo explained.

Nevertheless, CERAC reported that from late July to the end of September the FARC reportedly violated its unilateral ceasefire at least four times with intentional attacks and homicides, and during eight armed confrontations with the Colombian Army. Still, the agreement has resulted in a major decrease in bloodshed: those battles resulted in nine dead guerrillas and three Soldiers, an 83 percent decrease in offensive actions when compared to the monthly averages from January through May.

“It’s evident that the FARC has decreased significantly its violent activities in the armed conflict,” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Villegas told RCN Radio
late in September. “We have information of most fronts ceasing (their) activities.”

FARC's self-sufficient mobile columns

Although this is good news for Colombia, the government must remain on alert. At least 60 percent of recent deaths have been caused by the FARC’s 28th mobile columns – units usually consisting of 70 to 80 fighters and designed to be maneuverable, independent, and self-sufficient.

These mobile columns have been responsible for most of the FARC’s major terrorist actions, and many of them have more firepower and explosives capabilities than a front. They pose a grave threat to maintaining the recent low levels of violence, according to the CERAC.

“At least three of them – the Teófilo Forero, Daniel Aldana, and Miller Perdomo columns – are very involved in organized crime activities related to illegal mining and drug trafficking,” said Restrepo. “Along with some of the FARC’s fronts in Vichada and Catatumbo, they are the keenest on exploiting criminal incomes.”

ELN atttacks increase

Additionally, criminal groups and the National Liberation Army (ELN), another terrorist organization, could increase Colombia’s level of violence.

In particular, the ELN appears to be undergoing internal rifts and is so far unwilling to participate in a peace process.

In fact, ELN attacks have increased 39 percent since July 20. Most of these incidents, including attacks on the Armed Forces, have taken place in the northeastern departments of Arauca and Norte de Santander.

As a consequence of the FARC's unilateral ceasefire and possible demobilization, the Colombian National Army can carry out more full-fledged operations against the ELN and criminal bands, according to Restrepo.

“The conflict’s de-escalation has given the Armed Forces a greater capability to carry out offensive operations against other groups, and the results have been remarkable,” he said, referring to the October 2 operation that resulted in the death of kingpin Víctor Ramón Navarro Serrano, alias ‘Megateo’, a notorious drug trafficker for whom the U.S. government was offering a $5 million reward. “It has given the Army greater mobility with fewer threats.”