UN destroys final FARC weapons turned over in historic peace deal

World Today

UN destroys final FARC weapons turned over in historic peace deal

The U.N. destroyed the last weapons turned over by guerrilla group FARC, on Friday, as part of the rebels’ peace deal with the Colombian government.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports.

A special U.N. group in Colombia destroyed the last of nearly 9,000 weapons once belonging to rebel group FARC. The weapons had been handed over as part of the peace deal signed between the guerrillas and Colombian government in November of 2016.

Grenades, landmines, machine guns, rifles and other weapons were brought in from the guerrilla demobilization zones. The final containers arrived earlier this week at a warehouse in Funza, outside of Bogota.

“The turning in of weapons and the end of the conflict is just the first step [of this phase],” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said. “What we have to do next as Colombians will take a lot of time. That is the construction of peace, and it will take a lot of effort.”

Germany’s Federal Technical Assistance Agency, or THW, handled the destruction of the arms. Workers destroyed the weapons by strategically cutting them in a way that preserved their original shapes, but made them impossible to use if ever welded back together.

“All of the weapons will maintain their original form, except for the smaller revolvers,” chief of weapons destruction Jose Luis Descalzo explained. “We cut the barrel, the chamber, and all of the trigger mechanisms.”

After each weapon is dismantled, each one is registered with the person who carried out its destruction.

A U.N. mission of 450 observers from 19 countries oversaw the process alongside the media. More than 25,000 kilos of explosives and over 4,000 hand grenades are among the registered weapons left over from the conflict.

The weapons will be used to create three monuments commemorating the peace agreement. The United Nations Headquarters in New York will host one, Cuba a second, and the final in Colombia.