UN calls for better protection of former FARC rebels in Colombia


United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The UN's Colombia mission chief on Monday urged President Ivan Duque's government to better protect former FARC rebels, after Colombia thwarted one such attack.

"Peace cannot be fully achieved if the courageous voices of social leaders continue to be silenced by violence, and if ex-combatants who have given up their weapons and are committed to reintegration continue to be killed," said Carlos Ruiz during a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Colombian police said Sunday that they had thwarted an attempted attack on the former Marxist FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono.

Londono was targeted by other former guerrilla leaders who broke with the 2016 peace deal that has seen them take up civilian life.

The UN has reported that 2019 was the deadliest year for ex-FARC combatants in Colombia. The total of 77 deaths that year surpasses the 65 murders recorded in 2018 and the 31 in 2017.

The authorities' ability to thwart the attack on Londono shows the "serious commitment" of President Ivan Duque to protect ex-combatants, according to Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum.

She is in charge of overseeing the implementation of the peace deal signed with the FARC.

Blum also confirmed Duque's request in early January that the UN prolong its peace verification mission in Colombia until 2022.

According to Colombian authorities, 80 percent of the attacks are carried out by illegal armed groups and criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking and other illegal activities.