Colombian FARC, ELN rebels announce elections ceasefire
By Ben Tavener, Friday, May 16, 2014
SAO PAULO – Colombia's two main rebel groups have announced a unilateral truce to take effect from May 20 to May 28, covering the entirety of the upcoming presidential election period.
The FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, National Liberation Army) ordered active units to stand down and military offensives to be suspended:
“From 00:00 hours on Tuesday, May 20, until 24:00 hours on Wednesday, May 28, the FARC and ELN order a ceasefire,” a message read on the FARC peace process Twitter account, @FARC_EPaz.
A joint statement by FARC and ELN commanders was also released, confirming the declaration of “unilateral ceasefires.”
Colombians go to the polls on May 25 to elect the country's president, with the incumbent president, Juan Manuel Santos, seeking re-election.
The move is being seen as a gesture of good will to the Colombian people and a boost to the peace process, in which the FARC has been engaged with the government since November 2012.
Mutual ceasefires have been called in the past, but have been broken by parties on both sides and hostilities have re-erupted.
The commanders' statement said that the unilateral call for peace during the elections “paradoxically have led to the intensification of regime offensives.”
Agrarian reform and agricultural rights have played a crucial role in ongoing conflicts between the leftist rebels and the government.
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