Colombia’s longest-running and deadliest insurgency took a major step toward its end this week, when thousands of guerrilla fighters ventured out of dense jungles and started heading to concentration zones around the country.

In all, roughly 6,300 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a left-wing group that has battled Colombia’s government for more than a half-century, will leave the battlefield for UN-organized camps where they will begin demobilizing and disarming.

Colombian government officials said earlier this week that 450 pickup trucks, 120 cargo trucks, 100 buses, 80 boats, 10 tractors, and 35 mules were required to facilitate the mass movement — journeys for some that could last 22 hours or more.

“The last march of the FARC has started,” Colombia’s office of the presidency said in a statement. “The first guerrillas set off this weekend [on] their path, rifle on shoulder, ready to exchange it for a life in legality, a life in democracy, a different life that contributes to the construction of peace.”

Colombia FARC rebels camp
Men prepare a venue for an event attended by France’s President Francois Hollande and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos in the FARC concentration zone of Caldono, Colombia, January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

 

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Featured image courtesy of AP.

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