Statement by General Javier Pérez Aquino: Balance of activities related to the laying down of arms process

26 Jul 2017

Statement by General Javier Pérez Aquino: Balance of activities related to the laying down of arms process

Bogotá. July 26, 2017. Good afternoon, to all press correspondents and mass media present here, as well as all people who are accompanying us with the live broadcast by social networks.  To all of you, thank you very much for joining us today.

I would like to begin with the present statement of the up to date balance of arm caches operations, as well as other activities related to the FARC-EP laying down of arms.

The UN Mission in Colombia reports that the processes related to the laying down of weapons, such as the extraction of caches, the destruction of ammunition and unstable material, progress efficiently and without major setbacks.

To date, the following is the information received from the FARC-EP on the location of 779 arms caches:

Of these 779 arms caches, the planning of 649 is complete. The planning and coordination were done jointly with the Security Public Force, according to the corresponding protocol. Another 130 are in the planning process.

Of those 649 planned arms caches:

  • Three hundred and four (304) arms caches are already been successfully executed. These operations are been carried out by FARC-EP personnel, under the supervision of the International Observers of the United Nations Mission in Colombia. All these operations are been carried out with the accompaniment of members of the Police Unit for Peace Building (UNIPEP in the Spanish acronym), who provide the protection of the equipment during the development of this operation. Likewise, all these operations have been carried out within a quadrant whose perimeter is previously protected by the Security Public Force.
  • To date, six (6) operations are underway, which will allow the extraction of existing material in 30 of them.
  • Arms caches operations require extreme security measures, including maintaining the confidentiality of the information because other armed actors are interested in obtaining the material that is there, representing a threat to members of the FARC-EP, Mission’s observers and the Security Public Force that participate in them.
  • I reiterate that, according to the agreement between the parties, the handling of the information related to the laying down of weapons is confidential.
  • As a result of the operations of extraction of arms caches, to date the UN Mission in Colombia has been counted the following material
    • 792 weapons
    • 282.137 ammunition of small arms calibre.
    • 17,709 kilos of diverse explosives.
    • 22,735 meters of detonating cord and fuses.
    • 3,863 grenades: both hand and 40 mm.
    • 694 antipersonnel mines.
    • 17,067 initiators.
    • 809 mortars, which includes 60mm and 81mm rounds.​

Similarly, it is important to inform that international observers in the 26 Local Zones and Points have incinerated ammunition, accounting for more than 900,000 incinerated cartridges.

On the other hand, we would like to point out that in 25 Local Zones and Points, all the unstable material that was in the caches has been destroyed, and that tomorrow that activity will conclude with in the only Zone pending.

About the arms caches operation that has been reported in various national media, the UN Mission reports that on July 8 a team from the UN Mission with members of the FARC-EP, UNIPEP and UBICAR police, arrived to the site planned to make the extraction of the arms caches in the village of El Carmín, in the municipality of Anorí. The activity was suspended because the quadrant was not secured, due to an error of coordination with the Security Public Force.

The following day, July 9, with the quadrant secured by the Security Public Force, the operation of extraction of the arms caches was carried out.

However, in the event of any irregular situation that may arise on the procedure for the extraction of arms caches, the United Nations Mission in Colombia will carry out the corresponding verifications together with the parties.

The arms caches operations by the UN Mission will continue until September 1, as agreed by the parties in the statement made on May 29 through the press release No.19: “The arms caches that have not been dismantled will be available to the National Government, which will count on the collaboration of the former members of the FARC-EP who will work with the National Government in the location and dismantling of these arms caches”.

Good afternoon.