Bogotá, 15 September 2017. The United Nations Mission in Colombia informs that it its operations to clear weapons and destroy ammunition and unstable material from FARC-EP arms caches have been completed, in keeping with the roadmap established by the parties in their joint communique 19 of 29 May and its subsequent adjustment providing for an extension of operations on August 31.
The Mission has cleared a total 750 out of 998 FARC-EP arms caches. In the coming days all information concerning the arms caches not yet cleared will be provided to the High Commissioner for Peace, as set out in the 29 May communique. “The arms caches that have not been dismantled will be available to the Government which will work jointly with the ex-members of the FARC on the location and dismantling of these arms caches”.
UN International Observers and FARC-EP personnel planned and executed these arms cache operations in coordination with the National Armed Forces who provided security and logistical support.
The extraction process benefited from the participation of all 450 UN International Observers, over one hundred members of the FARC and approximately 500 members of the Special Police for Peace Unit (UNIPEP for its Spanish acronym) as well as an important deployment of over 9,000 members of the Armed Forces across the territory of Colombia.
The operations required a major logistical and operational effort involving a total of 283 flight hours of the 3 United Nations Mission helicopters (393 air movements), 210 helicopter flight hours provided by the Colombian Government and 20 movements via river and more than 120 movements via land accounting for approximately 40,000 kilometres travelled between vehicles, boats and horses.
As result of the arms caches extraction operations, a preliminary estimate of the material collected by the UN Mission in Colombia is as follows:
- 1,238 weapons identified and stored within the General Deposit of Armament of the UN Mission.
- 488,489 ammunition of different calibre of small arms.
- 26,489 kilos of various explosives.
- 39,849 meters of detonating cord and fuses.
- 4,277 hand grenades and 40 mm grenades.
- 2,647 antipersonnel mines.
- 31,868 detonation caps.
- 1,767 mortar rounds, including 81 mm, 60 mm and rockets.
All unstable material was destroyed on site, in accordance with established procedures and safety conditions.
The UN Mission appreciates the support of the members of the Public Security Forces, who during this process helped to provide security and protection for the arms caches operations. The Mission deeply regrets the death of the professional soldier Gustavo Raab Salazar who stepped on an explosive device on 14 August 14 during one of these operations.
Similarly, the UN Mission expresses its appreciation for the dedication of the professional soldiers Luis Henry Beltrán Gómez and Daniel Diaz Debia injured on 16 August during other operations. It further extends its appreciation to the UBICAR police officer, Reinel Escobar Sabogal, who was injured on August 6 by the impact of a projectile in a confrontation with an unidentified armed group.
The figures reported are preliminary, since at this moment information is still being compiled from task teams as they return to the local offices and report to the national level. Once the information is consolidated and confirmed, the United Nations Mission will announce the outcome of the FARC-EP laying down of weapons process.
Finally, the UN Mission in Colombia recognizes the commitment and effort of both the FARC-EP to carry out this process and the Government of Colombia to support it, in order to complete this important step in the Colombian peace process.