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United Nations removes last container holding Colombia rebel weapons

17 August 2017

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was present on August 15, as the last weapons of the FARC rebel group were sealed in containers and taken away by the United Nations.

"From today begins the definitive reincorporation of the members of the FARC", the Colombian Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera said at a press conference.

As part of the peace agreement signed by Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, in November 2016, the government has pledged to invest in the country's agricultural sector and carry out land reforms.

"Our mission has, up to today, gathered 8,112 arms in these containers and destroyed nearly 1.3 million cartridges", United Nations mission chief for Colombia Jean Arnault said at an event to mark the shipment.

"This puts the country on the path to a new future", Arnault commented.

Just one day after the United Nations Mission in Colombia announced the conclusion of the disarmament of the largest guerrilla group in the South American country, the Colombian government said the transitory zones that have housed guerrilla members during last year's peace agreement negotiations would become spaces for training.

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Roughly 7,000 FARC fighters have demobilized under the accord, which allows the group 10 unelected seats in Congress through 2026 and grants amnesty to the majority of ex-fighters.

He said armed forces would be redeployed in areas vacated by the Farc, and the government would provide security, infrastructure, and medical support there.

The ex-guerrillas, and agents of the forces of order will have to appear before a special court of peace, which provides for alternative sanctions to prison for those who admit to their crimes, compensate victims, and agree to have recourse to violence.

"But leaders of the FARC insist that they will indeed completely fulfill all their obligations".

Around 220,000 people lost their lives in the conflict.

The handing over of rebel arms is a fundamental component of the peace accord, which also aims to reduce Colombia's booming coca production by encouraging farmers to grow food crops instead.

United Nations removes last container holding Colombia rebel weapons