Colombia’s Farc officially ceases to be an armed group

Colombia’s Farc rebel group has formally ended its existence as an armed group, putting an end to half a century of violent conflict.
In a ceremony which ended the disarmament process, President Juan Manuel Santos said the “peace was real and irreversible”.
The former guerrillas will now work on forming a political party.
“Farewell to war. Farewell to arms, welcome to peace!” said Farc leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko.
President Santos is now trying to strike a similar deal with the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s second-largest left-wing rebel group.
The handover of 7,132 weapons was a key demand in the peace process signed last year, which marked the end of the Farc’s 52-year conflict in which 260,000 people were killed.
In the event in Mesetas, a small central town in an area that was once the group’s stronghold, Timochenko said the Farc would continue to exist, but in a different legal and democratic form as it enters a new phase in its history.
They are expected to change their name, as the long-standing acronym stands for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
“Today, we are not letting Colombia down. Today, we are laying down our weapons,” he said.
President Santos, who won a Nobel Prize for his efforts in securing the agreement, hailed it as a “very special day” and “the day weapons became words.”


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