As Colombia’s FARC disarms, rebels enlisted to fight deforestation
Seen from the air, muddy rivers snake through rolling forested hills stretching to the horizon in Colombia’s southern province of Caqueta that for decades were rebel lairs and an epicentre of the civil war.
A peace deal signed last year between the government and the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ended half a century of conflict.
The accord has seen about 7,000 FARC fighters leave their strongholds and gather in 26 demobilisation zones where so far rebels have surrendered about a third of their weapons to the United Nations.
But now a new battle is on: to preserve Colombia’s forests that are under threat from farmers seeking grazing land and criminal gangs cutting down trees for illegal gold mining.