Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia 'prepared for end of Farc rebel ceasefire'

Juan Manuel Santos at a news conference on 13 January 2013
Image caption President Santos said if the rebels resumed their attacks it would be "a sign of weakness".

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has warned the country's largest rebel force, the Farc, not to resume its attacks once the group's temporary ceasefire expires on Sunday.

Farc negotiators declared the unilateral truce two months ago at the start of peace talks in Cuba.

The Colombian government has refused to cease military operations during the negotiations.

It argues that the Farc would use the opportunity to rearm.

'Sign of weakness'

President Santos said the security forces were prepared for any possible resurgence in violence, but urged the rebels to refrain from any "terrorist attacks".

The president said committing acts of terrorism was relatively easy.

"You put a guy with a briefcase full of explosives next to a building, a bank, or a shop; that's very easy, but it's a sign of weakness," Mr Santos said.

Negotiators for the Farc declared the two-month unilateral truce in November.

For its part, the Colombian government has refused to cease military operations during the negotiations, arguing that the left-wing rebels would use the opportunity to rearm.

Image caption Members of the special forces have been sent to Bolivar to search for the abducted workers

The talks aim to end five decades of an armed conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in Colombia.

The security forces are also continuing their search for five employees of an international mining firm who were kidnapped by Colombia's second largest rebel force, the ELN, on Friday.

An extra 1,500 soldiers and police have been sent to northern Bolivar province to try to encircle the rebels and force them to release the hostages, military officials said.

The five, two Peruvian nationals, a Canadian, and two Colombians, were seized early on Friday by a group of about two dozen of the left-wing rebels.

The ELN is not part of the peace talks.

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