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Colombian President Suspends Ceasefire With Criminal Group

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Sunday said he had suspended a ceasefire with the Clan del Golfo, the country’s largest criminal organization, because it had attacked police.

“I have ordered the armed forces to reactivate all military operations against the Clan del Golfo,” Petro said in a tweet. “We will not allow them to continue sowing anxiety and terror in the communities.”

Minutes later, Petro tweeted: “The rifle attack on the police force by the Clan del Golfo breaks the ceasefire…. The armed forces must act immediately against the mafia organization.”

Reuters was not able to immediately confirm any details about the rifle attack.

The ceasefire with the Clan, also known as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces (AGC), was part of efforts to end the group’s part in Colombia’s internal conflict, which has killed at least 450,000 people.

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Days earlier, in a radio interview on March 13, Petro accused the group of destroying a municipal aqueduct in Antioquia province amid roadblocks connected to protests by informal gold miners. Petro said the group had “broken the ceasefire” and there was no possibility of negotiations with the group if they continue attacks.

Petro’s government has asked Congress to pass a law approving surrender for gangs, including reduced prison sentences, in exchange for halting operations and paying reparations to victims.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota, Jackie Botts in Mexico City, and Fabian Cambero in Santiago; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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