BOGOTA – Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group will begin surrendering its arms to a UN commission on March 1, Strategic Transition Command (COET) chief Gen. Javier Florez said on Tuesday.
“The matter of the physical handing over of the arms will start on March 1 with 30 percent, another 30 percent on May 1 and 40 percent on June 1, and then all the arms will have been surrendered,” Florez said in a press conference in Bogota.
The phased handover of weapons will take place over the agreed upon 180-day period that started on Dec. 1 and ends on June 1 despite delays in building and supplying the camps designed to house FARC fighters, Florez said.
On Saturday, the process of transporting 7,000 guerrillas to the 26 camps where they will lay down their arms and prepare to return to civilian life was completed.
Moving the rebels into the camps was “very important for the country,” the general said.
The 137 FARC members assigned to the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MMV), which also includes UN and government officials, “are already in the zones and will turn over (their weapons) to the United Nations,” Florez said.
The FARC’s militias have already handed over their weapons to guerrilla commanders and “they took them in the moves they made into the zones, and will hand them over to the United Nations,” the general said.
The FARC agreed to surrender arms, ammunition and explosives, as well as to reveal the locations of arsenals hidden across Colombia.
“In any case, all the unstable materiel will be destroyed before day 150, and the material in the hiding places, rifles, handguns and others, will be in the containers of the international organization,” Florez said.