Four Murui Indigenous children were killed in the Colombian Amazon by armed dissidents who currently hold a bilateral truce with the government, authorities said Sunday.
The minors had been forcibly recruited by the rebels — who broke away from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group after the 2016 peace agreement that disarmed the powerful guerrillas — according to reports from Indigenous communities in the area.
The country’s human rights ombudsman said in a statement that the “four children and teenagers, members of the Murui Indigenous community,” were executed on the border between the southern departments of Caqueta and Amazonas after defecting from a dissident faction of FARC called the Carolina Ramirez front.
The front was among the groups that adhered to a ceasefire proposed by the government several months ago, and is set to begin new peace talks soon with the government of President Gustavo Petro.
“Recruiting and killing children and adolescents from Indigenous communities are not exactly gestures of goodwill to achieve peace. In addition to being evident violations of International Humanitarian Law,” the ombudsman noted.
Petro slammed the multiple murders as “an atrocious crime, a blow to peace” and warned of “measures against these actions.”
Colombia has suffered more than 50 years of armed conflict between the state and various groups of left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug traffickers.
Petro, the first leftist president in Colombia’s history, has opened talks with many of the armed groups, hoping to put an end to the violence in the world’s largest cocaine producer.