Colombia to send more soldiers to missions abroad after peace deal

World Today

With a final peace deal expected to end 50 years of armed conflict in Colombia, the country’s leaders are now looking at new directions and opportunities for the military.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogotá.

Colombia to send more soldiers to missions abroad after peace deal

Many more Colombian soldiers may be shipping out on missions abroad. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reports from Bogotá.

In Bogotá’s Bolivar Square, 189 soldiers are given their final send off by Colombia’s army commander. They are embarking on a 10-month mission to the Sinai Peninsula, where peacekeeping forces have been operating since 1979.

Troops from a number of countries including U.S., Australia, France and Italy have been serving in Sinai province as part of a Multinational Force and Observer mission. But their work has grown more dangerous with increasing threats from ISIL.

To Colombian Soldier Ariza, fear is not a factor, and he sees his selection to represent his country abroad as an honor, even if it means leaving his family including two children behind.

President Juan Manuel Santos has announced that an additional 5,000 Colombian soldiers will soon be trained for more international missions. They’re part of what the military calls its ‘Army of the Future.’ Depending on a soldier’s skills and training, the United Nations will help assign them to missions across Africa and Asia.

After 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia will now learn what it takes to maintain peace as its military takes on more multinational missions abroad.

‘While we were in the middle of our most difficult times of this war, many allies and many countries gave us a hand,” Colombia’s Armed Forces commander Alberto Mejia said. “So now that we are very close to get to peace it is the time that Colombia does the same for the International community and for other countries.”