Thursday, July 7

Former FARC guerrillas deliver information on 55 kidnapped persons deemed missing

Correspondent in Bogotá



After many years of waiting, 55 families received information about their loved ones kidnapped by the former FARC guerrilla, who for a long time were reported as missing. This situation changed last Thursday when leaders of the ex-guerrilla of the FARC, demobilized in 2016 after the signing of the Peace Agreement with the Government of Colombia, provided information on these people, who are part of a list of 192 reported missing, including 111 civilians and 81 from the public force, including some emblematic cases for Colombians.

Already the leadership of the current Communes party and other demobilized guerrillas had provided detailed information on another 515 people to the Search Unit for Missing Persons (UBPD), within the framework of compliance with the Agreement. To this end, a Search Commission was established, also made up of ex-combatants, with the mission of clarifying the whereabouts of hundreds of people, of which the remaining 137 on this list are part. About these cases, Rodrigo Londoño, today the leader of the Communes Party and who was the top leader of the FARC at the time of his demobilization, affirmed that there is “initial information that can yield definitive results” to find his whereabouts or rebuild his history.

In the meeting on Thursday, more details were given about the context, place of the kidnapping, guerrilla structures that would have committed these crimes, as well as circumstances of the death of the kidnapped and indications of the possible fate of the disappeared, all this within the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition process, one of the most painful points of the Agreement and one that has made the greatest progress in its implementation.

It should be remembered that Special Justice for Peace, a body created within the framework of the Agreement to define responsibilities and impart justice, has already formally held the former FARC command responsible for these crimes and the former guerrilla as one of the main perpetrators of the crime of kidnapping, with 21,396 registered victims in the well-known Case 01.

Years of mourning

Among the 55 people identified this week are civilians and members of the public force, among them prominent cases such as that of Sergeant Vicente Rojas, and civilians Manuel Tabares Marín, the spouses Gerardo Angulo and Carmenza Castañeda, as well as a group of six merchants from the Huila who were murdered in captivity, but of whom the FARC had not given further details, until now.

Although this preliminary information is valuable and contributes to closing years of anxiety and mourning, it does not guarantee that the remains of the victims will actually be found after so many years since the events. But every effort must be made, with rigor and clear and effective routes of action, as indicated Juliette de Rivero, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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