Colombia’s Farc soldiers plan normal lives after peace deal

Thousands of Farc guerrillas in Colombia have begun the process of becoming civilians again following a peace deal with the government

Since May, former soldiers – who were involved in a civil war that spanned seven decades and killed more than 220,000 people – have been travelling by foot, truck, bus and boat to demobilisation zones throughout the country.

So far 7,000 former rebels have been granted amnesty or released from prison as part the process. In June, the group completed its disarmament by handing over its entire weapons arsenal.

Though some of the zones reportedly still lack the infrastructure promised to the guerrillas by the government, they are set to receive education and training programmes to help smooth their transition to civilian life.

Guerrillas are set to receive education and training programmes to help smooth their transition to civilian life

One negative knock-on effect, in what has been a rocky road to peace, is a surge in deforestation. As Farc rebels have relinquished control over the vast areas of land they held, criminal gangs have swooped in and illegal logging has increased 44 per cent. In an effort and reverse this trend, Norway is donating £2.7m over two years to give former Farc fighters and communities paid work to safeguard forests through reporting illegal logging and promoting sustainable farming and eco-tourism.

The peace deal was eventually struck in November 2016, after four years of talks. It came despite the Colombian people initially rejecting the deal in a referendum in October last year.

Image: Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP/Getty

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