11 Colombian insurgents surrender

April 24th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, April 24 (IANS) Eleven insurgents of Colombia’s two largest leftist rebel groups have surrendered to the government troops in different parts of the country, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Thursday. Those who laid down arms include 10 rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and one from the National Liberation Army (ELN), taking the number of insurgents who surrendered this year to 786, an official said.

According to the report the rebels surrendered in the western and southwestern provinces of Choco, Huila, Cauca, Bogota, Frontino, San Francisco and Putumayo.

More than 15,000 rebels have surrendered in the past six years, according to a government estimate.

The government has announced a rehabilitation package for those insurgents who give themselves up to the authorities, including financial, medical, educational and security assistance.

The FARC is Colombia’s largest leftist insurgency group and was founded in 1964. The group has an estimated 8,000 to 17,000 fighters and is led by Manuel Marulanda. The ELN the second largest has a cadre strength 5,000.

President Alvaro Uribe’s administration has made fighting insurgency a top priority and has obtained billions of dollars from the US for counterinsurgency operations.

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