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Colombian army denounces FARC guerrillas for recruiting minors

Xinhua, April 15, 2015 Adjust font size:

The Colombian army on Tuesday denounced Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas for continued recruitment of minors, after the rebel group promised to stop in February.

The northwestern department of Choco and the southwestern departments of Cauca and Narino are the regions most affected by the recruitment of minors, some of whom have been rescued while conducting operations in the field, director of the army's southwestern joint force Henry Torres told local press.

Many of these minors come from poor families that end up being the main victims of the armed conflict, Torres said.

The Colombian government said it has rescued about 6,000 former child soldiers over the last 15 years.

Colombia's Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez said the FARC continues to recruit children into their ranks, among committing other crimes, despite having declared one-side truce last December.

"The average citizen knows that the FARC has continued to recruit,extort, displace and cause the disappearance of many Colombians," Ordonez said.

In February, FARC guerrillas said they would no longer recruit minors under 17 into their ranks, which President Juan Manuel Santos called "a step in the right direction."

"There is nothing more cruel than taking a child into war. There is nothing that destroys the moral base of a society so badly as to teach our children to kill, to hate," Santos said.

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, the largest guerrilla insurgency in the country, have been held in the Cuban capital of Havana since November 2012, aiming to end the five-decade conflict. Endi