More than 8,000 weapons and over one million burned cartridges were transported to a central warehouse in Colombia as the United Nations political mission in the country concluded the process of the laying down of individual weapons of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) combatants.
“To date, August 15, [the UN] concluded the process of extracting all the armament and scrap ammunition in the 26 camps of the FARC-EP, as well as the collected from the arms caches until now,” began Jean Arnault, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in Colombia in a press statement.
“In addition to the operation that is being carried out in Pondores, extraction operations are currently underway in four areas: La Reforma, Yari, La Guajira and La Variante. The material transported in the containers consists of 8,112 guns and almost 1,300,0000 incinerated cartridges,” he added.
Mr. Arnault emphasized that the extraction process included 16 aerial-ground movements and 10 terrestrial movements, which accounted for more than 50 flight hours from three UN mission helicopters and almost 11,000 kilometres travelled.
All unstable material found in the 26 camps, including anti-personnel mines, grenades, homemade explosives and gunpowder was also destroyed.
Turning to arms caches operations, he said “to date there is information about 873 of which 510 arms caches have been successfully executed.”
As the result of the extraction of arms caches operations, the UN Mission in the field counted, to date, 795 weapons; 293,803 ammunitions of different calibre of small arms; 22,077 kilograms of various explosives; 25,216 meters of detonating cord and slow wick; 3,957 hand grenades and 40 mm grenades; 1,846 antipersonnel mines; 27,282 starters; and 1,130 mortar rounds, of which 81 mm, 60 mm and rockets are identified.
The mission head stressed the importance of this process and what it means for the future of Colombia.
“I consider this is an important figure, which shows that there has definitely been an exhaustive process of the abandonment of weapons, not only a process of abandoning individual arms, but also an exhaustive process of abandoning everything contained in the FARC-EP target teams and as President Juan Manuel Santos said, this leads the country to a new stage,” underscored Mr. Arnault.
According to a unanimously adopted resolution, on 26 September the UN Verification Mission in Colombia will replace the current mission.