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Colombia: UN Receives 7,000 Weapons From FARC-EP as Hunt for Hidden Caches Continues

Work taking place on a camp where the UN Mission in Colombia will verify the laying down of arms by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People

The United Nations Mission in Colombia is set to register some 7,000 weapons this weekend, but the search for other caches of weapons hidden by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) continues, the Mission’s chief has said.

Jean Arnault, the head of the Mission, said yesterday: “As for registration, we are at 85 percent of the weapons in the camps. This weekend we will reach a figure of approximately 7,000 registered weapons. On these weapons there are concerns: many are new and are short and long weapons, high calibre. It is a record that covers the range of FARC-EP weapons."

The weapons hand over has been in place since the beginning of the month and the UN hopes to possess 60 per cent of all FARC-EP arms by April 1. However, in a press conference on the topic yesterday, Mr. Arnault said accessing hidden and hard to reach caches could delay the process.

A further 1,000 weapons are set to be received from FARC-EP members participating in peace promotion or, pedagogia de paz, bringing the number of arms collected by the UN to 8,000.

It was also reported at the press conference that commitments made at the Cartagena meeting of the Follow up, Promotion and Implementation Commission (CSIVI) to make progress on preparation of registration zones and camps, security and legal guarantees and provision of health services would further accelerate the laydown of arms process.

In November last year, the Colombian Government and FARC-EP, the largest rebel group in the South American nation, signed a peace deal, ending a 50 year conflict.

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