Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia peace: Farc leaders 'could disown rogue unit'

Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia, FARC, 2001 Image copyright AP
Image caption FARC units have been operating in isolated jungle regions

The senior command of the Colombian Farc rebels has said it will disown one of its guerrilla units if it refuses to demobilise.

A commander in eastern Colombia said units that did not accept peace terms being finalised with the government would have to leave the organisation.

On Friday, a senior Colombian official said two Farc units were refusing to lay down their arms.

Alejandro Ordonez said they were heavily involved in drug trafficking.

President Juan Manuel Santos has said that rebels who reject the peace deal will end up in prison or in the grave.

Mr Ordonez's office is independent of the president and he has been a critic of the peace talks that have been taking place for more than three years in Havana.

Who are the Farc?

Guerrilla leader who talks peace

Cocaine and mining

On Wednesday a Farc unit, the First Front "Armando Rios", published a pamphlet in which it said that its members would not demobilise.

The First Front operates in remote jungle areas, some close to the border with Brazil.

Most are nature reserves or indigenous areas where the rule of law is absent and where cocaine cultivation and illegal mining are rife.

Ivan Cepeda, a senator who has followed the negotiations closely in Havana, told BBC Mundo: "At the beginning of the talks it was expected that a small percentage of the rebels would not want to participate in the disarmament or in the peace process."

Mr Cepeda said he did not believe the Front's refusal to lay down arms would put the peace talks at risk and he said he believed the majority of the Farc would end up accepting the peace terms.

Experts say that while most rebels will be willing to embrace a new way of life after the peace accord, the demobilisation could open the way for smaller criminal bands to take over the drug cultivation and illegal mining the guerrillas have long practised in the Colombian jungle.

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