Colombia's FARC rebels give up guns in disarmament camps

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

MOUNTAINS OF CAUCA, Colombia, March 31 (Reuters) - Former fighters from Colombia's FARC rebel group are handing over thousands of weapons and other materials to international officials in special camps, as the group's six-month disarmament process continues.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement with the government late last year to put an end to their part in Latin America's longest-running armed conflict, which has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions.

25 PHOTOS
Colombia's FARC rebels give up weapons
See Gallery
Colombia's FARC rebels give up weapons
FARC members stand during a formation in a camp before moving to the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, at the Los Robles FARC camp, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A FARC member phones his family from a hill where phone signal is better in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Juancho smokes a cigarette outside his makeshift tent in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A FARC member walks by a truck carrying their belongings to the transitional zone of La Elvira, Colombia, January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members carry mattresses to their tents in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Indigenous farmers walk near a FARC camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members stand in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A FARC member participates in works to build facilities for a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo in the Cauca mountains, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A FARC member gets ready for a morning formation in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members prepare meat to be cooked for dinner in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Evelio, a member of FARC, stands guard in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members walk to get breakfast in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of FARC makes coffee in the morning in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members guard an entrance of a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo in the Cauca mountains, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members prepare meat to be cooked for dinner in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members play chess in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC commander Nelson walks with his pet in Los Robles, Colombia, January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Juancho cleans his bullets and weapons in a camp in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Karina gets her hair done by a friend in a camp while waiting for a truck to move to the transition zone of Pueblo Nuevo, at the Los Robles FARC camp, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Men work on a construction for FARC members at the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members eat their last dinner before moving troops to Pueblo Nuevo, in a camp in Los Robles, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
FARC members spend their time while waiting for a truck to reach the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, at the Los Robles FARC camp, Colombia, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A FARC member stands guard in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
FARC member washes in a camp near the transitional zone of Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Federico Rios SEARCH "FARC FEDERICO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Weapons handed over to the United Nations will be stored in secure containers until they can be turned into three memorial statues. The rebels are expected to turn in all arms by June, and some 8,000 are set to be registered by this weekend.

Members of the Jacobo Arenas rebel unit, which operated in mountains of Cauca province, were among 6,900 FARC fighters who left behind clandestine camps where they had lived for decades, crisscrossing the country on foot, by boat and by truck to get to 26 zones monitored by the United Nations.

The zones will be their homes for the foreseeable future as they complete judicial processes to determine whether they will serve special sentences for war crimes or receive amnesty. Ex-fighters will also reunite with long-lost families and make amends to victims.

Under the terms of the peace accord, the FARC, which began as a peasant uprising 52 years ago, is to form a political movement in the South American nation.

The FARC's leadership has raised concerns about conditions in some of the camps, including the lack of permanent toilets and facilities such as gyms they say were agreed in the accord.

Some FARC members have told local media they will not hand over their weapons until the camps are more habitable for fighters, who are well used to rough-and-tumble living conditions in poverty-stricken rural areas.

The government says it is working as quickly as possible to finish each camp, that the FARC is partly responsible for construction and that the facilities are far superior to the tarp and bamboo lean-tos traditionally used by the rebels.

Local media reported on Friday that some fighters may stay in camp areas after they demobilize to continue agricultural projects.

The accord has been heavily criticized for sparing rebels jail time. A first version was narrowly rejected in a referendum last year, before being modified and passed by Congress.

Authorities have said about 300 rebels are refusing to demobilize.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
12 Facts That Will Make You Smarter Than Your Friends 12 Facts That Will Make You Smarter Than Your Friends
Man Is Horrified To Learn His Biological Father's Identity - But A Look In The Mirror Man Is Horrified To Learn His Biological Father's Identity - But A Look In The Mirror