As Colombia’s largest rebel army demobilizes, preparing to lay down its arms once and for all to transition to civilian life after more than half a century of civil war, two FARC members have been assassinated in less than 10 days as rebel leaders and social organizations continue to ring alarm over the ongoing crisis of paramilitary violence that threatens to undermine the historic peace process in the South American country.
FARC Commander Jose Huber Yatacue was shot dead Tuesday outside a hospital in Toribio, a town in the southwestern department of Cauca, one of the regions hardest hit by the decades-long internal armed conflict and ongoing paramilitary violence.
Just over a week earlier, FARC member Alvaro Ortiz Cabezas was murdered on April 16 in a bar in a rural area of the port city of Tumaco, located in the northwestern coastal department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador.
Both Yatacue and Ortiz had benefited from the amnesty law, passed as part of the historic peace deal signed last year by the FARC and the Colombian government, that pardons rebels for political crimes committed in the context of the armed conflict. Both were reportedly more involved in the FARC’s urban activities than rural operations and both were killed in areas outside the designated transition zones where the rebel army has gathered to demobilize.