Former Colombian guerrillas seize Bogota cathedral

April 24th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, April 24 (IANS) Nearly 300 former Colombian guerrillas have seized a cathedral here to press their demand for better government aid package, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Thursday. The protest Wednesday was peaceful, one of the protestors told the news agency.

“The mission is to remain there for an indefinite period,” he said, adding that the aim is to restore the government’s aid programme for the ex-militias that it ordered recently to discontinue.

He said thousands of former guerrillas are in distress because they have nothing to do for a living.

In 2002, some 44,000 guerrillas had laid down arms as the government promised them proper rehabilitation. However, many are unhappy because of inadequate government support.

Of those who surrendered, around 31,000 were members of the ultra-rightist United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC). The group was completely disbanded in mid-2006 as part of a peace agreement with the government.

The rebels are demanding that senior government representatives involved with the rehabilitation programme should meet them at the site along with the representatives of the UN and the European countries to discuss the issue.

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