Colombia-FARC peace talks: Rebels fear attacks after disarming

CCTV News

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Columbia’s government and the left-wing FARC rebel group are close to a deal that would end half-a-century of armed conflicts.

Protection for rebels who give up their weapons is a key concern. As some say, the killing of leftist thinkers has already begun.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Colombia-FARC peace talks: Rebels fear attacks after disarming

Colombia-FARC peace talks: Rebels fear attacks after disarming

Columbia's government and the left-wing FARC rebel group are close to a deal that would end half-a-century of armed conflicts. Protection for rebels who give up their weapons is a key concern. As some say, the killing of leftist thinkers has already begun. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reports.

About two and a half weeks ago, 21-year-old Colombian Klaus Zapata was playing football with his friends in this small neighborhood. He was shot and killed at the end of the game.

Prosecutors announced on Wednesday they have identified and are looking for one suspect.

Klaus’ father says his son was targeted for his political beliefs. He was an active member of the Youth Communist Party, and the same day he was murdered he had participated in demonstrations supporting environmental rights.

Klaus is one of 29 murders of Colombian leftist political activists killed in the past couple of weeks. Some fear this is a targeted attempt at silencing political dissent just as the FARC rebels negotiate their arms reduction.

“This is a terrible message for the negotiating team in Havana. And that message is, if those negotiating peace come to Colombia, they will be killed,” Aida Avella, President of Patriotic Union Party said.

Members like Aida Avella of the left-wing Patriotic Union say they have reasons to be afraid. The political party was co-founded by the FARC guerrilla group in the mid-1980s, and for years, members disappeared and were assassinated.

“This country has been profoundly shaken by the killings of Union leaders, defenders of human rights, and a political opposition party known as the Patriotic Union party which had more than 5,000 of its party members killed during its existence,” he also said.

This is a key point in the peace negotiations in Havana. The FARC says it wants guarantees that right winged criminal groups won’t kill them once they disarm.

Back at home Klaus Zapata’s father says he wants those same guarantees for those who are not rebels.

According to a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the peace talks in Cuba this week included security guarantees. But details on how this will be assured have yet to be released.