The Central High Command of the FARC (EMC), a dissident group of the FARC, have killed a soldier in Cauca a few days before the ceasefire with the government, set to begin next Monday, October 16. On October 11th, an armed confrontation occurred between the outlawed group and the Army in Balboa, Cauca.
The incident ended with a soldier killed under strange circumstances, within the context of the cessation of offensive activities decreed by the government against the insurgent group, a dissenter from the Havana Peace Accords signed with the now-defunct FARC in 2016.
This confrontation clouds the peace dialogue with this rebel faction, which is scheduled to follow a bilateral ceasefire that begins in a few days.
Armed clash results in a fatality
The incident took place in the rural area of the municipality of Balboa, in the conflict-prone department of Cauca. In the region, there was reportedly an exchange of gunfire between members of the Army and the illegal armed organization.
Sources from the Ministry of Defense reported that a military battalion was in the area conducting tasks to ensure the security of the upcoming local and regional elections, which will take place on October 29. At that moment, according to the military institution’s account, members of the Carlos Patiño Front of the EMC FARC attacked, and killed the soldier Dinolberto León Martínez, who had served for over 13 years.
The military responded to the attack and injured two individuals, a man who was captured as a suspected member of the dissidents and a minor who entered the process of recovery through the State’s institutions for child and adolescent care. Both were transported for medical attention.
The complex dialogue with the EMC
The so-called Central High Command of the FARC (EMC) is an illegal armed group that emerged in opposition to the agreements signed in 2016 by the now-defunct band with the Colombian government. According to official data, it is the primary dissident group from these agreements, both in terms of the number of members and military capability.
President Petro’s government is making significant efforts to initiate a dialogue leading to the demobilization of this group, but the preliminary steps toward the establishment of the negotiating table are proving to be complex.
Following two EMC attacks in the Cauca department, which resulted in casualties, and the Army’s counteroffensive, the bilateral ceasefire that was supposed to begin this week had to be postponed after a challenging prior meeting between the parties in Tibú, Norte de Santander, last Sunday.
Differences regarding verification and education for the military led to the ceasefire being postponed until October 16. In its place, and to cover the week leading up to that date, the State decided to declare a cessation of offensive activities by the Army against the EMC, a kind of truce between the parties that began on the 9th.
Both sides accuse each other of violating the truce
Hours after the confrontation, the EMC group issued various statements accusing the Army of initiating hostilities in an act that, according to this group, violated the truce declared two days earlier.
According to these sources, in the confrontation, three guerrillas and one civilian were killed.
UN Verification of the Ceasefire
Colombia and the Central High Command (EMC) will ask the UN Security Council to allow the UN mission in the country to verify the ceasefire announced on Sunday, which is set to commence on October 16.
Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, shared this information during a session of the Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I have been informed that the parties will soon request this Council to authorize the Mission to participate in monitoring and verifying the ceasefire. I will ensure they receive all necessary information to consider this request,” Massieu stated.